A SECOND-HAND boat bought for £70 on eBay has been permanently anchored in a school playground.

Children from Oakdale Junior School in Oakdale Road, South Woodford, will be able to enjoy playing as pirates on the boat which forms the centrepiece of a £2,000 improvement scheme at the school.

The school received the cash from the John Laing Charitable Trust which hands out grants to schools to improve their outdoor spaces.

Local builder Martin Baldry bought the boat online and donated it to Oakdale, and the grant has allowed the school to renovate it and make it safe for play.

It will sit in an area surrounded by sand and pebbles and backdrops designed by the children.

Head teacher Linda Snow, said: “It costs tens of thousands of pounds to buy wooden boat play structures so this is a much more cost effective and realistic solution.

“We think it’s going to be an exciting role play area for the children and it can be adapted for lessons, too.”

The boat has been placed outside the school’s swimming pool which has undergone a £30,000 refurbishment programme over the summer.

The school is one of just two in Redbridge to have its own pool, and it had planned to spend the money on turning it into an all-year facility by replacing the corrugated plastic roof and improving insulation.

But Mrs Snow said: “Unfortunately all the money we had planned to spend on the project has had to go on mechanical refurbishment, such as replacing the pipes.”

The school received around £2,000 in donations from parents and local businesses towards the costs of the refurbishment.

Mrs Snow added: “The long-term goal is still to keep the pool open all year.

“The sun is shining at the moment and the children are using it, but as soon as the weather gets colder we will have to close it for the winter.”