FRIENDSHIP formed the basis of a successful primary school pupil art exhibition.

Talented youngsters from St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School and Devonshire Road Primary School in Heaton worked with Ladybridge Primary School and Pikes Lane Primary School for their first public art exhibition.

The project, which was staged in the Market Place Shopping Centre, was co-ordinated by art leader Helen Williams, who is based at St Thomas of Canterbury RC School.

Since the autumn the youngsters in Years Three and Four have been creating artwork, including paintings and sculpture.

The budding artists got together at St Thomas to discuss ideas and representations to symbolise friendship, including one of a dolphin with the tail in the shape of hand.

Among the many visitors to the exhibition were the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton.

Mrs Williams said: “We have an artist in residence at the school and in May last year I suggested that maybe schools in our cluster group could work together.

“When the children first started working together, they were quiet and did not mingle but by the end of it they were talking to each other, made new friends and found out that some of the pupils they were speaking to lived on their street.

“The children’s faces were priceless when they saw the exhibition.

“They got positive feedback from people and the children explained their pieces and the processes to them.

“The exhibition was a success. It was hard work but worth it and the children got a huge of sense of enjoyment and achievement from it.”

Pupil at St Thomas’ of Canterbury RC School Ilham Magi, aged eight, said: “I loved doing the art project because I learnt a lot of things and made new friends from other schools.

“I learnt about Niki de Saint Phalle and how to make a sculpture out of papier mache. But I also learnt about friendship and how people should work together."

Classmate Oliver Di-Marcello, also aged eight, added: “I liked making the big sculpture of the dolphin the best because it involved everyone from each school.”

Feedback in the visitors book included: “It is great to see artwork done in school by young children” and “Very colourful, creative and interesting to see all the children come together on this project. Well done.”