Primary school children help spread Baloo's message
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Children at a primary school in Manningtree have been helping to encourage people to stay at home and save lives by colouring in pictures of retired police dog Baloo.
Teachers at Lawford C of E Primary School have challenged their pupils, who are aged between four and 11, to colour in the pictures of Essex Police mascot Baloo, share them with each other by the school's online app and put them in their windows at home to persuade others to do the same as them; stay at home and stay safe.
Baloo is a Belgian Malinois, who was a police dog forced into early retirement after she was hit by a car when responding to an incident involving a stolen vehicle. Sadly her injuries meant she eventually had to have one of her legs amputated, meaning she could no longer serve on the front line.
But the noble hound overcame her injuries and has now been re-employed by Essex Police as a therapy dog. In her new role Baloo visits people in the community, as well as staff and officers at our force, to support their wellbeing and welfare.
As a show of support to parents and children and a thank you for staying home and saving lives, five special pictures of Baloo were released on the Essex Police website last week. Since then, lots of children (and some grownups) from across the county have been getting involved with colouring and displaying the pictures for all to see.
Lawford Primary School's headteacher Abbie Fairbairn said: "This has been an unusual and challenging time for all of us at Lawford Primary, as I am sure it has been for many schools across Essex.
"But I cannot praise our teachers, staff, pupils and parents enough, for their dedication and hard work in making sure the children's education continues as best as it can under the circumstances.
"I have no doubt that many of the children will be missing their friends and teachers, but we are learning to be resilient and the pictures of Baloo are a lovely reminder that we can overcome these challenges together because it is all about staying safe."
Four-year-old Imogen, from the school's Foundation Class said: "I really miss my friends and my teachers, but I liked colouring in the pictures of Baloo.
“Baloo is cool and she looks kind.
"When I go out for my walk, I look for pictures in people's windows and it makes me smile when I see them."
We would like to say a big thank you to all the teachers, staff and pupils at Lawford C of E Primary School along with everyone else who has got involved and helped share Baloo's message; stay home, save lives.
If you would like to get involved, colour-in Baloo and enjoy some of our other educational activities, please go to this web page.