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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 11:30 GMT
Soham head seeking 'fresh start'
Geoff Fisher, head teacher of St Andrew's Primary School, Soham
Geoff Fisher said it was time to 'leave Soham alone'
The head teacher of the school attended by Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman says his pupils are looking for a "fresh start" in the New Year.

Speaking ahead of a carol service at St Andrew's Primary School, Soham, Geoff Fisher said pupils needed to celebrate Christmas in "the usual way"

He thanked the public and media for their "concern" over the girls' fate.

But Mr Fisher added that it was time to "leave Soham alone and let us get on with Christmas".

'Community strength'

Howard Gilbert, head teacher of neighbouring Soham Village College, said pupils had coped as well as possible with the furore surrounding the double murder trial of former caretaker Ian Huntley.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We feel it's important to keep normal routines going as much as we can.

"Obviously we can't ignore the events of the last couple of days, but it's important to the community to keep things as normal as possible."

Counsellors have worked with pupils since Holly and Jessica disappeared in August last year.

Frank Murphy, senior educational psychologist with Cambridgeshire County Council, who has been co-ordinating the monitoring of the psychological effects on children in Soham, said the story was far from over.

He said: "We are still very much dealing with the events of the last 16 months and we will continue to do so.

"It's very difficult to generalise about people's responses."

Mr Gilbert added: "It's the strength of the community that's kept people going, all aspects of the community.

"The amount of support and messages we've had has been outstanding and been a source of inspiration."


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