AS you approach the picturesque school of St Mary’s Bentworth there are many things you would expect to see, such as children playing and PE on the field, but lifesize, fibreglass sheep is not one of them.

Nonetheless, six such sheep could clearly be seen on tables being painted by children and staff – and it was not a sight or an activity unlikely to be forgetten!

It was the start of the diocese project Ewe Matter – designed to encourage the reflection of community and belonging and how different members of the parishes can come together to enjoy such a creative project.

Schools across Hampshire will be taking part and every school will be taking their sheep to the leavers’ service for all year six children at Winchester Cathedral in the summer.

Headteacher Jo Ayres said: “I knew instantly that our children would love Ewe Matter as it is so rooted in our value of belonging and harnessed our creative learning.

“Our St Mary’s team worked so hard to make sure every child and their village or area was represented and every child was part of the planning and painting.”

Mrs Ayres thanked Mrs Dumelow and the villagers and visitors who supported the St Mary’s children in their effort.

And she added: “The sheep look amazing and I know as they visit their villages they will be welcomed and looked after.”

One visitor who helped out on the day said: “I was not sure what to expect but I have thoroughly enjoyed it – probably even more than the children, if that’s possible.

“The children have been delightful and the outcome is so amazing. Well done, St Mary’s!”