On Sunday 5th March, Oundle School Upper Sixth Form pupil, Hope Dillarstone (17) ran the Cambridge Half Marathon to raise money for the Oundle School Mencap Holiday (OSMH), a residential holiday which takes place at the School over the summer holidays.
In August 2016, Hope volunteered as part of the OSMH team working with forty children with physical disabilities and/or learning difficulties. The group enjoyed days out to Twin Lakes and nearby Wicksteed Park, as well as den-building and climbing in Rutland and a visit to the Burghley House Gardens of Surprise. The traditional day out at the seaside took place at Hunstanton, where the group swam in the North Sea, visited the Sea Life Centre and took on the waltzers in the amusement park.
The majority of the volunteers on the holiday comprise current Sixth formers or recent leavers (Old Oundelians) from Oundle School, supported by a senior team of experienced volunteers, many of whom are also former pupils or Oundle residents.
Last summer the government inspector for schools and child services assessed the Oundle-based charity for the first time and rated it ‘Outstanding’ in all aspects including governance, leadership, safety and welfare.
Hope commented, “The holiday last summer was without a doubt one of the best weeks of my life and I will be volunteering again next summer. The run was a tough challenge given the rain and wind that set in that morning but knowing that the money I will raise will help to put smiles on faces this summer kept me going.”
Kate Taylor, Holiday Leader, commented, “I am inspired by the young volunteers, who not only work so hard to support the children on the holidays, but also to help raise funds so we can continue to offer affordable and exciting holidays. Raising funds is vital to allow us to continue to give children holidays and families and carers respite."
Robin Banerjee, OSMH trustee and teacher at Oundle School, commented, “OSMH is extremely grateful and proud of what Hope has achieved. We rely on donations, so it is efforts like these that make all the difference. Very well done and thank you so very much, Hope.”
Hope has so far raised £500 for OSMH – to sponsor her please visit:
For more information on Oundle School Mencap Holidays, visit www.oundlemencap.co.uk.