Aranui schoolchildren in Castlecliff were given an unusual gift last week - a new footpath.
After nearly 50 years, Aranui School now has footpaths on both roads leading into the school grounds, much to the delight of all the kids, their parents, friends and, well, just everyone in the Castlecliff community.
Contractors Downer decided to bestow a $15,000 gift to the Castlecliff community and Aranui School and lay a concrete footpath where there had never been one, though a concrete path had always been wanted.
Downer spokesman Brendon Walker said they saw the new concrete footpath as a community service.
"Our staff all live and work in Wanganui, so it is great for Downer to be able to give something back to the community. After mentioning this project to our concrete crew, they all volunteered their time to help with the task, " he said.
"As our staff spend most of their time working on the road, they have to manage the risks of traffic on a daily basis, so providing safe and easy access to the school for these children was especially important to us."
Footpaths to the school's Aranui Ave entrance were completed some time ago but most children, including those who prefer rolling transport such as scooters, bikes and skateboards, are required by school rules to use Kamahi St, which links to the school via a walkway.
Most afternoons at 3pm, this small dead-end street is cluttered with cars as parents pick up their children.
The south side was never paved, and in wet weather, when the grass is long, pupils inevitably preferred using the road, often having close shaves with manoeuvering vehicles. Aranui board of trustees Chairman Allan Wrigglesworth said the gift was generous and wonderful.
"We are all so grateful. We feel really special. Thank you, Downer."