Alford

A school in Alford has been closed for at least a day over fears of coronavirus.

John Spendluffe Technology College on Hanby Lane in Alford confirmed the closure saying all students in Year 7 and 10 or any student that catches the Hunts 7 bus.

The school said this was due to “a serious COVID-19 concern affecting these year groups and bus service”.

The school added that depending on the test result it may continue to be closed for these students, who must stay at home and complete the work set on class charts as normal.

All other students should attend school as normal.

The school and the bus company are working together “to maintain high standards of hygiene and safety to keep pupils safe”.

The school’s announcement in full.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in schools in the county continues to rise. Lincolnshire County Council confirmed on Tuesday that 11 schools, including Lincoln College, have positive cases.

In addition, confirmed cases of COVID-19 has also been reported at Bardney Church of England and Methodist Primary School and Sir Robert Pattinson Academy in North Hykeham.

There have also been three confirmed cases at schools in North East Lincolnshire and at least one in North Lincolnshire.

An Alford man and former Butlin’s employee has gone viral on TikTok with 3.9 million viewing his first video and hundreds of thousands more continuing to enjoy his journey.

Robert Steadman, 48, loves to ride his penny farthing bicycle around the Lincolnshire town, which is a reconditioned model made by a historic bike restoration specialist in Hull.

After his next door neighbour and friend Tess Turner uploaded a video to TikTok, the response was “phenomenal” and he wants to try and make a career out of it.

The first video was posted on June 23 and after the massive response Tess renamed her account to @robertpennyfarthing to try and help her friend and neighbour spread more happiness.

Over 20 videos later, including more of the penny farthing and Robert talking about autism, his TikTok page now has 83,000 followers and 1.4 million likes. He also has over 8,000 followers on Instagram where more of his story is posted.


Robert Steadman loves riding his penny farthing and making his own clothes.

Robert is originally from Southampton, but has lived in Alford for the past 20 years. He is autistic and dyslexic and struggles to read and write, but his creative and practical talents have been putting smiles on everyone’s faces whilst he also cares for his disabled mother.

Tess told Lincolnshire Reporter that Robert is loving his TikTok fame and is hoping to somehow make a career out of this, while he also wants to join up with charities for people with learning difficulties.

He has already had offers of work pulling around billboards for local businesses on his penny farthing trailer. Tess and his social media team are in the process of having postcards printed, as well as mugs and t-shirts.

Robert with his penny farthing and his dog Zara.

Tess said: “Robert is an extraordinary person and is truly one-of-a-kind. There is nobody else like him and he not only embraces his uniqueness but champions it. He is comfortable in his skin and loves people.

“During the early days of lockdown he dressed up as Willy Wonka and went out on his penny farthing, waving to elderly people who were shielding, with the sole aim of cheering them up and spreading happiness.

“This whole thing came about because I had an account on TikTok (much to the disgust of my teenage children) and I posted a random video on my TikTok because I thought people would be interested to see Robert.

“Although it’s normal for us here in Alford to see Robert dressed in his fine clothes riding his penny farthing, not everyone is lucky enough.

“So I posted it and the next morning I woke up to see thousands of likes, comments and follows! I could have never anticipated this reaction. It’s been phenomenal!”

Robert has a collection of vintage bicycles and also enjoys making his own clothes, buying items and taking them apart before copying shapes and patterns to create wearable pieces. He used to help at Butlin’s with anything that needed a sewing machine to fix.

Robert, who likes to make friends everywhere he goes, also has a keen interest in kites and once flew a dragon kite measuring 365 feet long in Skegness.

A Lincolnshire village school has closed for a second time over coronavirus fears after a staff’s family member was admitted to hospital to be re-tested.

That person had tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday, but after the latest development St Helena’s Church of England Primary School in Willoughby, Alford had to close again.

In a post on the school’s Facebook page on Thursday evening, headteacher Mrs Belton said: “It is with the greatest regret that I have to inform you that the staff’s family member, who tested negative for the virus on Sunday, has been admitted to Grimsby hospital where he is being re-tested for COVID-19.

“The whole school is obliged to close again because there are siblings of those children in the affected key worker bubble in every other group.

“Again we shall inform you of school’s reopening when the test result is returned. If it proves positive, the advice will be for us all to isolate for 14 days.

“I am sure you will join me in sending our warmest wishes to the family concerned and hope the patient recovers soon.”

The latest statement from the school in full. Photo: St Helena’s Church of England Primary School, Willoughby Facebook page

This is not the first time coronavirus has forced the school to close this month.

The school said in an earlier post on June 5: “So, the first week of welcoming some children back had gone as well as it could until yesterday (June 4); then the inevitable happened.

“I do hope that closing school until we hear of the test result was what you would have wanted us to do. One thing that has really helped us during this difficult time has been your supportive messages, full of care and compliments – thank you.”

The statement from June 5 in full. Photo: St Helena’s Church of England Primary School, Willoughby Facebook page

The school also re-iterated that children had stayed in their allocated spaces with their allocated adults and that no-one met up at break times or lunch.

Meanwhile, Professor Derek Ward, director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, told Lincolnshire Reporter on Friday that it has had three schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of June 11 and had provided the advice and support required.

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