Early last week, (before the snow descended) the SOLSTICE planning group met. As you may be aware we have parents, one member of staff and Sister Patrick who are all undergoing treatment for various types of cancer. Cancer in all of its forms is a disease which respects no-one and attacks young and old alike. Fortunately there have been breakthroughs in detection and treatments but research requires money and support of sufferers also needs money. So we have selected Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer as the two charities to support with our SOLSTICE events.
Back in April, The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding made the decision that as a number of our parents, a member of staff and Sister Patrick were all undergoing treatment for various types of Cancer we wanted to support Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer and began planning our Solstice event. Also, we decided that, as this is my tenth and final year as Head, we would aim for a total of £10,000. We thought that we were being optimistic and perhaps a little too ambitious but decided that it would be better to aim high. As I write this the total is just over £13,500 with money from the sponsored runs and silent auction still to come. The original plan was to give £5,000 each to Macmillan and Cancer Research UK and then anything above that amount could go to the Worthing Hospital Scanner Appeal.
The first ‘event’ was our money mile where everyone was invited to place loose change on the tape around the school. The money is still coming in and we are at 1194 yards. Not quite a mile but equating to over £500. There have been many individual events such as the Daisy Chain Challenge (£88), a parent who asked her dinner party guests to pay for their pudding (£55) cake sales at various churches to name but a few.
Then the Summer Solstice arrived and the Seniors arrived dressed in pink and green outfits plus trainers to do the 5km fun run along the banks of the river adur. The first girl back was Ellie-Rose Teatum with a time of 19 minutes 20 seconds. In the afternoon all of the Juniors and nursery ran or walked around the field as many times as they could manage. For one nursery child one lap was enough before he declared to Hayley “I have had enough, my feet won’t do anymore” whilst the girl who did the most laps was Amelie Somers completing 48 laps closely followed by Harriet Thornton completing 47 laps. The sponsor money from both of these events this has yet to be counted but even if each child only raises £10 then that would be a further £3200!
In the evening the auction alone raised an amazing £3905. With ticket sales and bar sales, lockery and tombola adding a further £1600 to the proceeds from the night. All 23 lots sold with some competitive bidding, particularly for the tickets to the Ashes which sold for £370 and the Florida apartment which reached an amazing £1000. The champagne tea at South Lodge, Dinner, bed and breakfast at Dean’s Place, a Mappin and Webb watch, signed cricket bat and the bakery courses at The Artisan Bakery were also very popular, each reaching around £200. There were many more items donated and a silent auction for these is still in process.
Saturday saw some serious competitors warming up with exercises demonstrated by Kat O’Neill before setting off on a steep hill over the Downs for a 5 or 8K run, jog or walk. This raised over £1000 in entry fees. Congratulations not only to Will Chambers and ex-pupil Lydia Growns who respectively won the two categories but also to Ellie-Rose Teatum who repeated her achievement of the previous day and was the first Towers pupil to return.
During the afternoon the fete was declared open by Sister Patrick and followed an afternoon of busy its busy stalls, entertainment and games went ahead despite the windy weather. The rain held off until it was time to pack away and to start the barbecue. Venison or pork burgers provided by a parent were delicious and the entertainment first ‘Fat Owl’ followed by ‘No Pressure’ soon had literally everyone up and dancing to round off a fabulous weekend.