Following in Captain Tom's footsteps
In the wake of Captain Sir Tom Moore capturing the hearts and minds of a nation with his momentous charity trek, caring young pupils from our school have followed in his fundraising footsteps.
Captain Tom, as the affable and humble Yorkshireman was affectionately known, came to national prominence at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, completing the not inconsiderable task of walking 100 laps of the garden of his Bedfordshire home and raising a mind-blowing £33m for the NHS at the grand old age of 99, just days before his 100th birthday.
In doing so, the Second World War veteran, who served in India in the fight against the Japanese, became an instant inspiration – and his quiet determination and caring nature has been mirrored by our empathetic youngsters.
The children were set a ‘100 Challenge’ over the half-term holiday to back a fundraising campaign instigated by former Highfield and Brookham Spanish teacher Sarah Hollingworth, with the aim of getting children away from screens and gadgets and undertaking at least 100 minutes of sponsored exercise during the break.
And, in true Captain Tom fashion, the children responded in fine style, raising £1,914 to buy hot drinks and snacks for the intensive care unit staff at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford who have been tirelessly fighting the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The focused pupils met the challenge by any means possible, at times battling wind, rain and freezing temperatures to cash in for the NHS.
Among the hardy fundraisers were brother and sister Poppy and Louis Ouvaroff. Poppy, 11, blitzed her initial target, clocking up an astonishing 1,000 minutes – or more than 16 hours – of high-intensity training and dog walking, while younger brother Louis, seven, chalked up a no-less-impressive 877 minutes made up largely of dog walking and football.
Running, cycling, riding and even ‘ninja training’ were also among the fundraising activities.
Highfield School headmaster Phillip Evitt said:
Captain Tom really captured the attention of the nation with his selfless exploits in aid of our brilliant NHS and it really looks like his ethos has rubbed off on the pupils here at Highfield and Brookham. I’m immensely proud of the way they all took on the challenge, sometimes in appalling weather, to do their bit while thinking of others and making a real difference.
And he added: “The NHS has had a torrid time dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for a long time now, so we hope that this gesture from our children will go some small way toward showing the ICU staff at the Royal Surrey County Hospital that we care about them and appreciate the fantastic work that they are doing on our behalf.”
To donate to the cause, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sarah-hollingworth