Bill Ding Visits St Mary's Island Primary School


With UK Construction Week beginning on the 9th October, award-winning home builder, Countryside, arranged for their company mascot ‘Bill Ding’ to visit St Mary’s Island Primary School, near the site of its development.

On Thursday 5th October, an assembly was held to educate pupils about staying safe in and around construction sites, as Countryside is in the process of completing the latest phase of homes at its Azure development on St Mary’s Island.

Phil Barratt, Development Manager, and George Thompson, Health and Safety Officer at Countryside spoke to the children about construction safety, possible hazards in and around the site, and why children should not play on or near building sites. They also learned the importance of protective clothing and were given hard hats and high visibility vests, while asking questions about building site safety.

George Thompson, Health and Safety Officer at Countryside, comments: “We felt that it was important to educate the new school pupils about the construction which is currently taking place at St Mary’s Island since the site is not too far from their school. We ran a similar scheme about two years ago, and the children really enjoyed meeting Bill Ding and learning about the new homes that were being built. We have a good relationship with St Mary’s Island Primary School, and feel that it is important to work closely with those who are in the surrounding community.”

Mrs C Easton, Head Teacher of St Mary’s Island Primary School, said: “We have fond memories of Bill Ding coming to visit a few years ago, so we were pleased that he returned along with the Countryside team to visit the new pupils. The session was fun and informative, and proved very popular with the children. They learned a lot about building site safety, as well as the importance of only going near a construction site with suitable supervision, and to always ensure that they were wearing protective clothing. The school is about to be expanded and will have its own construction site, so it is doubly important that the children are aware of the do’s of don’ts on site.”

A joint venture between Countryside and the Homes and Communities Agency, St Mary’s Island is Britain’s only strategically planned island community which forms part of Chatham Maritime, the regeneration scheme being sensitively built on part of the Historic Naval Dockyard. The Docks at Azure has recently been launched, this last phase of homes on the island will feature a collection of homes, ranging from one bedroom apartments, to five bedroom homes. All homes feature a high quality specification throughout.

St Mary’s Island is home to a range of facilities, and ample space to spend time outdoors. Take a stroll along the River Medway, or enjoy the host of facilities available on St Mary’s Island, including an eclectic range of bars, restaurants and other amenities in Jetty 5. The Dockside Outlet Shopping Centre adjacent to the bridge leading onto the island, includes a recently refurbished pub, supermarket, and over 70 retail outlets. For further shopping opportunities, Bluewater Shopping Centre is only 15 miles from the development. 

Residents of St Mary’s Island are ideally located to benefit from excellent transport connections, with Rochester train station located under four miles away. High speed services reach London St Pancreas in just 38 minutes. The Kings Ferry coach also travels directly from St Mary’s Island to Canary Wharf in less than an hour, the City in one hour and 20 minutes, and Westminster in an hour and a half. The A2 and the M2 are just a short drive away, providing access into London and down to Dover.