A staff motivation challenge in 1997 saw 35 United Distillers workers descend on Coniston in the heart of the Lake District and build an entire adventure playground at Coniston Primary School in just one week.

Sales and marketing staff from the company managed to collect the money, materials and building power to have the playground finished by their deadline of noon on Friday, January 17, that year.

The series of wooden climbing logs, ropes and swings was built at the primary school in just 50 hours.

Headteacher Pauline Benson cut the ribbon to officially open the playground for the school’s children.

Permission to get the playground built had already been won but the school was unable to gather enough money to get started.

A United Distillers’ spokesperson said the project was the perfect challenge to hand to staff.

Workers travelled from all over the country to meet at a hotel near Ambleside to hear the project chosen for their days away.

The money was raised from different company departments, the National Grid and the North-west Ladies Auxiliary.

Materials were given or provided at a discount from Kendal, Ulverston and Coniston businesses. And a Coniston builder and a local joiner saw what was happening at the school and decided to chip in their working hours for free.

In 1993 pupils from the school were among 300 children from 13 local schools taking part in the musical Ararat at John Ruskin School at Coniston.

The musical was written by Ross Baxter and Linda Waters, directed by Nigel Banks and orchestrated by Anthony Milledge.

Based on the story of Noah’s Ark, the two performances were sell-out successes as audiences were treated to 18 pieces of music, drama sketches, poetry and dance sequences.

John Ruskin School pupils formed the core of the production but children from Ulverston Victoria High, Barrow Sixth Form College, and ten rural primary schools (Broughton, Burlington, Coniston, Hawkshead, Langdale, Lowick, Ulpha, Penny Bridge, Satterthwaite and Thwaites) were also involved.