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Headmaster spends night in Condemned Person Cell to Raise Funds for School

Added: (Mon Nov 12 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - An idea originally conceived by David Lee, governor of Branston Junior School, for Headteacher Richard Hall to spend a night in the Condemned Prisoner’s Cell backfired when it was suggested that for Health and Safety reasons two people should stay in the cell. David felt he had to volunteer!!
The scary night away from home comforts is the climax to a fund raising exercise, which it is hoped will raise at least 15,000.

These funds will be added to other grants from the local education authority, and will allow the re-modelling of the front of school including a new and secure reception area, private 1:1 learning facilities for pupils, and provision of a first aid room. Since the school was built in the 1960’s, no development work has been carried out on the entrance and admin areas; the new facilities will allow for 21st Century standards of accommodation to match the excellent education provided by the staff.

If these funds cannot be raised there is a real chance the project will not take place and the school will lose the conditional grants and donations already pledged.

The willingness of the Headteacher and a Governor to suffer the privations of the condemned prisoner’s cell shows the determination of the whole school community to secure a modern education facility for generations to come.

The event will take place on 28th November. The women’s section of the prison, which is being used to stage the event, is open to the public on two occasions per annum. There is one condemned cell where the convicted would spend the final three weeks of their life. The last convicted person to occupy the cell was Priscilla Biggadyke, who murdered her husband at Stickney near Boston on 1st October 1886. Biggadyke was sentenced in early December and executed on 28th December 1868.

The women’s section of the prison has one such cell and the male section has two. The cells were larger than other cells because two Warders stayed in the cell at all times with three shifts per day.

Biggadyke was the only female inmate in the prison during her stay.

Executions took place at 9am with the prisoner receiving breakfast and sometimes even a glass of wine! The Governor and Chaplain would have awoken the accused (if they had slept), and the procession would then have made its way to the gallows. Those attending would have been the Governor, (but not a school governor!!), Chaplain, High Sheriff of the County or his deputy, two or three warders, gentlemen of the press and of course the hangman and his assistant.

The School would like to thank both the Castle Management and The Friends of the Castle for allowing this unique fund raising event to take place. Not surprisingly nobody can remember such an event being held in the past!

Branston Junior School is not new to fund raising, having raised 19,000 last year to build a new Information Technology Learning Suite. Many local businesses both large and small became Community Partners and made generous donations and the entire project was completed on time. The new facilities have been a huge success with children and teachers.

Last year the school was awarded the prestigious School Achievement Award from the Department of Education and Employment. The school’s academic success continued this year with 100% of children achieving the government SAT standard or better in Maths and Science tests, and 95% for English.

The School would welcome donations large or small from any reader. Donations should be sent to Branston Junior School, Station Road, Branston, Lincoln, LN4 1LH, or contact the school on 01522 880555.

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