Teacher’s gruelling running challenge raises thousands of pounds for charity
A TEACHER at King’s Ely has raised more than £3,500 for a charity close to his heart by completing a 250-kilometre running challenge.
Nick Williams, who is Head of Economics and a Business Studies Teacher at King’s Ely Senior, set himself the challenge of running 5 kilometres for fifty consecutive days to not only increase his fitness levels, but to also raise as much money as he could for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Nick’s father, Tudor, was diagnosed with Dementia five years ago, something which Nick says has had a heart-breaking impact on his family. Father-of-two Nick, who lives near Bury St Edmunds, finished his fiftieth 5 kilometre run on May 16th and says he is overwhelmed to have raised £3,536 in donations. He said: “When I started my challenge, I had no idea how physically and emotionally challenging it would be. The huge positives have been the tremendous support I have received from people. Support ranging from ‘well done, keep going’ to people talking intimately about their family and their experience of Dementia/Alzheimer’s.
“On a personal front, I have become far fitter and have lost 10 kilograms in weight. The runs have also given me that rare thing of I-time, which has been great to help me recalibrate my thoughts and feelings of the past year! Covid-19 has been tough on everyone. We have all lost valuable time with friends and family. I will freely admit that during my time running I have had happy thoughts being outside appreciating the beautiful countryside to thoughts of anger, sadness and loss of the last good year with my father. This experience has been incredibly meditative and one which I am incredibly thankful for.
“The hardest part physically was day 40 when my hamstring tore! The level 3 tear prevented me from running for four days. I walked/hobbled 5 kilometres determined not to give up. The last six days I could only run at a very moderate pace. As the sponsorship built up, I felt more determined than ever to complete the challenge. I ran the last 500 metres with my five-year-old daughter, Ellie. This was a very special moment for me and my family! I had a lovely socially distanced party with my neighbours and felt proud of what I had achieved.
“Thank you for all your very generous sponsorship and support for the Alzheimer’s Society. My original target was £1,000 so to have raised this incredible sum of money is very humbling. People keep asking me will I keep running – answer definitely. People ask would I do it again – answer definitely. Who knows, maybe next year I will do seventy-five 5-kilometre runs consecutively!”
King’s Ely pupil’s cheese jokes make Norfolk care home residents smile!
A CARING King’s Ely pupil has come up with a brie-lliant idea to help spread positivity in her local community.
Willow, who is in Year 3 at King’s Ely Junior, decided she wanted to do something to bring cheer to residents at Terrington Lodge Care Home in Norfolk, which is near where she lives. Willow received a cheese advent calendar for Christmas instead of the usual chocolate one and thought what better way to make the residents smile than by writing letters to them along with some really grate (!) cheese jokes.
In her letter to one resident, Willow wrote: “I wanted to do something nice for people who might not be able to get out and about so easily at the moment, and to try and make them laugh. I love cheese jokes and I hope you like yours! As you can see, you can tear your joke off and share it with others where you live so you can all make each other laugh. I will not brie-lieve it if you don’t smile at these jokes! I wish you all a happy cheese-tastic time this week.”
Willow enjoyed delivering her letters and jokes to the care home so much that she is planning to hand-write and deliver (socially distanced of course) different themed jokes to the residents each week until lockdown eases.
Victoria Harrison, Deputy Home Manager at Terrington Lodge, said: “The residents here very much enjoyed hearing Willow’s cheese jokes! It was a lovely gesture by Willow, which both the staff and residents found very thoughtful.”
King’s Ely students record beautiful virtual tribute to NHS workers
Musicians from King’s Ely have joined forces (virtually!) to record a song in honour of the work being carried out by NHS and frontline workers.
Around 60 pupils from King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior feature in the recording of ‘Like A Rainbow Shining’, a song written by British composer, Will Todd. Students recorded themselves or got a family member to record them singing at home and their audios and videos were then put together by King’s Ely’s Director of Music, Neil Porter-Thaw.
King’s Ely will be releasing three versions of the song – one starring members of King’s Ely Senior’s Chapel Choir, which can be seen here: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/428153568, one featuring King’s Ely Junior’s Chamber Choir and Choristers, which can be seen here: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/430378355 and then a version with all pupils involved.
Mr Porter-Thaw said: “It has been so difficult for us all not to be making music together in person. Simply nothing can replace live rehearsals, but we have continued our rehearsals virtually and the attendance from students has been excellent. In both King’s Ely Junior and Senior, we sing quite a bit of Will Todd’s music, whether on tour or in Ely’s wonderful Cathedral, so when I heard about Will’s latest composition, I jumped at the chance of working with our students on a recording to add our support to the courageous work the NHS are doing. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I have to say that I wasn’t quite prepared for the hours of work it takes to mix and edit around 60 pupils’ work! I am ever so grateful to a member of staff’s daughter, Caroline Hill, for her amazing offer to help with the video editing.”
Will says he wrote the “song of hope” after taking inspiration from the trend of painting/drawing rainbows and putting them up in windows as a sign of a hopeful future.
Speaking about the project, he said: “I am so thrilled that King’s Ely has enjoyed working on my song, Like A Rainbow Shining, and that students have been able to connect as a virtual choir in these difficult times. It’s a great performance. Best wishes to you all. Keep singing and shining!”
King’s Ely has raised hundreds of pounds for NHS Charities Together since lockdown started – mainly by members of staff paying a small donation in order to take part in virtual quizzes with each other. Anyone who listens to the song and enjoys it is invited to make a small donation in honour of the incredible work being carried out by NHS and frontline staff here: HTTPS://BIT.LY/37NGIX2
King’s Ely student’s ‘Two Point Six Challenge’ in aid of DofE award
KING’S Ely Sixth Form student Molly Whymark has raised almost £600 for a cause close to her heart by putting her best foot forward during lockdown.
Molly, 17, decided to complete a ‘Two Point Six Challenge’, not only to raise funds for The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award, but to also try and make the most of the lockdown restrictions, which, at the time, included only an hour of outdoor exercise each day.
The Two Point Six Challenge is a fundraising initiative spearheaded last month by the organisers of the London Marathon to raise funds for UK charities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge number of fundraising events which have had to be cancelled.
Molly, who lives in Ely and who is a DofE Award Ambassador for Central England, decided to walk 2.6km every day for two weeks and six days. She completed her challenge on May 13th and, thanks to lots of generous donations, has raised £590 for the charity.
Speaking about her challenge, Molly said: “Walking for half an hour or so each day was not only great fun, but also a simple way to support a fantastic cause – my dogs enjoyed it too! I am so pleased with the amount I have raised; everyone has been so generous. With this money, The DofE Award will be able to support a further twenty Gold Awards.”
Molly added: “One statistic that stands out to me about The DofE Award is that out of the 280,000 participants each year, 68,000 of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It takes up to £29 to start someone’s DofE journey. I have learnt so much already and I am continuing to learn from taking part in The DofE Award. Even though my DofE journey is coming to an end shortly, I can’t wait to see more people starting their journey soon with everyone’s help.”
Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership brings second Innovation Day to King’s Ely
KING’S Ely was delighted to welcome pupils and staff from four of its partner schools along to an action-packed Innovation Day.
The day, which oozed creativity and entrepreneurial skills, involved dozens of Key Stage 2 pupils from King’s Ely Junior, Isle of Ely Primary School, Mepal and Witcham Primary School, Robert Arkenstall Primary School and Ely St Mary’s Junior School, all of which are members of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership.
The Innovation Day, entitled ‘What’s your mission?’, took place at King’s Ely’s Old Palace and was delivered by Lucy Etchegoyen and Veera Bukshi, both Technology Consultants at global firm, Accenture UK, and Andrew Moss, who is a King’s Ely parent and Managing Director of Horizon Retail Marketing Solutions.
Celia Etchegoyen, Director of Outreach at King’s Ely, said: “Pupils were introduced to design thinking and learnt about the theory behind methodology. They were shown how it has been used by different companies to create new interesting products and experiences. The ideation part of the day was designed to create a response to the mission and included a brainstorming session, concept poster creation and sketches of their ideas.
“The collaborative element of the day saw pupils working together in small groups to each come up with an idea for a sustainable company with a clear mission. At the end of the day, each group pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Very many thanks to Accenture UK and Horizon Retail Marketing Solutions for driving this initiative and to Andrew who sourced ex-display items of electronic equipment from Dixons to give to each student as a gift. These certainly went down a storm! It was fantastic to see the students respond so well. Lucy, Veera and Andrew together delivered an inspiring and innovative day to raise the aspirations of young people in East Cambridgeshire.”
The Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership has been formed to bring together school headteachers, education professionals and young people from across Cambridgeshire. King’s Ely, Ely College and Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy joined forces to set up the organisation last autumn, but since then more than a dozen other local primary and secondary schools, from both the independent and state sectors, have come on board.
The aim of the partnership is to work together for the mutual benefit of all pupils, and to provide opportunities for students from schools within the partnership to gain access to a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), Arts, Sport and Enrichment activities.
Mental health charity receives bumper cheque from King’s Ely community
KING’S Ely has raised more than £1,800 for a charity which supports local people who are struggling with their mental health.
The substantial sum was raised through the ‘Memory Baubles Ely’ initiative, which was spearheaded by King’s Ely’s long-serving Head Receptionist, Rosie Holliday, in the run up to Christmas. Rosie launched the initiative to raise funds and awareness for Talking FreELY, a non-profit organisation which encourages open discussion about mental health in the Ely area.
The campaign saw people from across the local area paying a small donation to have the names of their loved ones – be that friends, family members, pets etc – written on festive baubles, which were then hung on the large Christmas tree outside the school’s Old Palace during the festive season.
Anthony Sigrist, founder of Talking FreELY, visited King’s Ely to receive a cheque for £1,896 from Rosie on behalf of the school community. He said: “With mental health struggles estimated to affect one in four adults every single year, the work we do has never been more important. Lots of organisations are encouraging people to have a conversation about mental health but Talking FreELY are taking things a step further by making them happen. We currently rely on public support and are overwhelmed by how much Rosie and King’s Ely have raised for us. Thank you to everyone involved, this will certainly help us to continue Talking FreELY!”
Rosie, who has worked at King’s Ely for 38 years and is also Honorary Secretary to the Old Eleans’ Club, added: “Thank you so much to everyone who supported the Memory Baubles Ely initiative. I originally hoped to raise £1,000 for the charity but to have raised just under £2,000 is fantastic.”
To discover more about Talking FreELY, please visit: WWW.TALKINGFREELY.ORG
Teddies go travelling
More than 70 teddy bears and soft toys were donated to The Teddy Trust by generous King’s Ely Junior pupils, families and staff during the festive period.
Sisters Aoife and Odhrán, pictured, who are both pupils at King’s Ely Junior, organised the collection for the charity, which collects unwanted teddies and cuddly toys and sends them to underprivileged children living in countries such as Syria, Malawi and Kurdistan.
Thanks to Aoife and Odhrán’s collection, King’s Ely Junior donated an impressive 74 teddy bears – well done everyone!
Twelve Charitable Days of Christmas
Boxes and boxes of edible goodies have been donated to Ely Foodbank in time for Christmas thanks to community-spirited King’s Ely students, families and members of staff.
The ‘Twelve Charitable Days of Christmas’ initiative was spearheaded by King’s Ely Junior and pupils in each of the school’s Houses were encouraged to bring in three different items of food and/or drink which could then be donated to the local foodbank.
From Christmas puddings to stuffing mix and tins of custard to jars of pickles, the King’s Ely community went all out to support the campaign, resulting in dozens of boxes being filled with festive goodies.
Ashley Handscomb, Manager of Ely Foodbank, visted King’s Ely Junior on December 6th to collect the boxes, which will be sorted by the foodbank’s team of volunteers and distributed to local people in need during the Christmas period.
Ashley said: “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of food and drink items donated by King’s Ely Junior and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the collection. Demand at Ely Foodbank and at foodbanks across the UK has never been higher, so donations like this really do go a long way to helping those in need.”
Ely Foodbank was launched in 2012 by local churches working in partnership with a diverse range of organisations and members of the public across the city. Today, it has grown to support people in need across East Cambridgeshire and Fenland.
King’s Ely community raises a whopping £34,000 for good causes
Over the last 12 months, the King’s Ely community has been doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things to raise money for the school’s two chosen charities for 2018/19 – Cancer Research UK and the Wildlife Trust charity.
An incredible £34,000 has been raised – £10,000 of which is from a Charity Ball organised by a group of King’s Ely parents and which took place in Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel in June.
The rest of the funds – one of the highest totals to date – were raised in a whole host of ways, including non-uniform days, cake sales, sponsored challenges, King’s Ely Junior’s Soapbox Race and the inaugural King’s Ely Colour Dash, to name just a few.
Heidi Connell, senior local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, attended the school’s Michaelmas Mid Term Service at the Cathedral on October 18th to receive a cheque for £17,685. The Wildlife Trust charity will be receiving their £17,000 soon.
King’s Ely is well-known for its community spirit and fundraising work. Just a couple of days prior to the cheque presentation to Cancer Research UK, a team of Sixth Form girls organised a special green-themed non-uniform day, which raised around £1,000 for Greenpeace UK.
The week previously, the King’s Ely community came together to donate a huge number of items to Ely Foodbank as part of the school’s and the Cathedral’s Harvest Festival celebrations.
The school will be supporting numerous charities this coming academic year, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Pidley Mountain Rescue Team.
King’s Ely Junior pupils send Postcards of Kindness to care home residents
Year 7 and 8 pupils at King’s Ely Junior have been supporting the wonderful ‘Postcards of Kindness’ initiative, spearheaded by national care home provider, Your Health Group. The campaign was launched in 2018 and has grown rapidly to the point that more than 1,200 residential and care homes are now involved.
Speaking about the campaign, the charity said: “We want to combat loneliness and isolation across the country and remind our residents that there is always somebody thinking of them, regardless of where in the world the postcards have come from.”
King’s Ely Junior pupils have loved writing and sending their postcards and have been delighted to receive some back!
King’s Ely Sixth Formers get their hands dirty in support of local primary school
Thirteen Sixth Formers were part of a green-fingered team from King’s Ely who removed a huge area of weeds and prepared the soil ready for Isle of Ely Primary School pupils and staff to start planting their new garden.
The Sixth Form students were accompanied by Chris Youngs and Will Temple, who are members of the King’s Ely Garden and Grounds Team; Jane Halls, Sixth Form Supervisor at King’s Ely; and Celia Etchegoyen, King’s Ely’s Director of Outreach.
The volunteering was organised under the umbrella of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership, of which both King’s Ely and Isle of Ely Primary School are members. The partnership was launched in May this year to bring together school headteachers, education professionals and young people from across Cambridgeshire.
Its aim is to work together for the mutual benefit of all pupils, in both independent and state schools, and to provide opportunities for students from schools within the partnership to gain access to a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), Arts, Sport and Enrichment activities.
The partnership also aims to create opportunities for collaboration and dissemination of good practice within the teaching community, to develop, support and retain the best teachers in our schools, and to raise the aspirations and accelerate the progress of our young people.