Withernsea High School

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  3. Santa Run becomes a ramble in aid of Dove House

Santa Run becomes a ramble in aid of Dove House

21 December 2022 (by admin)

Following in the footsteps of countless other schools across Hull and East Yorkshire this December, Withernsea High School has helped to support the work of Dove House Hospice by staging their very own fundraising Santa Run, albeit with a bit of a twist. 

To help combat the effects of last weeks’ cold snap, the run became a ramble to ensure that the event could safely go ahead. With a two-mile course ahead of them, and with icy conditions under foot, walking proved to be the perfect compromise to ensure that students didn’t miss out on the fun.  

It was the first time such an event had taken place at the school, with organisers initially estimating the involvement of around 100 participants. However, following a whole-school assembly led by Dove House fundraising assistant Gemma Hindley, approximately 500 staff and students eventually signed up to take part in order to help raise vital funds for the hospice.

The run was the brainchild of the school’s running club leaders, Head of Humanities Sarah Harris-Smith, and Teacher of PE and School Sports Coordinator, Nick Richmond. Having led the successful weekly club since September, the pair initially thought that it would be a good way for its members, plus a select few others, to end the year on a high. Little did they know that it would spiral into the realms of a whole-school activity.

As the cold weather continued to bite, with constant ice and an unexpected snowfall causing minor disruption, it briefly looked as though the event may have had to be cancelled. However, a safe way forward was found and the event subsequently went ahead on the last day of term – much to the delight of all involved.

Extensive preparations had seen a two-mile course mapped out around the school field, with staggered starts lined up for each year group. The ramble’s participants had been encouraged to wear festive non-uniform, with some even opting for fancy dress, for a small suggested donation of £1.50. 

The start of each year group’s walk was launched by Charmaine Masters, Deputy Manager of the Withernsea branch of Aldi. To help support the school and its students, Aldi kindly donated sweet treats and supplies of hot chocolate to help warm participants up after the walk. These were served by the school’s Heads of Year who did an excellent job of manning drinks stations in the Sports Hall.

Whilst some of the planned competitive elements of the event had to be toned down on account of the weather, there was still room to recognise individual achievements and efforts. Alex Hickerman and Ryan Shaw had the honour of being the first students over the finish line, whilst around ten others were recognised for their fancy dress effort. These included Emily Gardner who navigated the course in an Elf costume and Charlie Nimmo who ran as Aldi’s festive mascot, Kevin the Carrot. 

Commenting on the success of the event, co-organiser Nick Richmond said: “I am so pleased with how the event went. The exceptional behaviour and attitude from students added to the festive atmosphere and a fun time was had all round. What a great way to end the term - pairing physical activity and raising money for charity.

Special thanks must go to the representatives from our nominated charity, Dove House Hospice, for their support and to Charmaine from Aldi for donating the hot chocolate and starting our rambles. I would also like to thank Active Withernsea for their support on the day, and the school’s staff for their help in managing the event.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank parents/carers and students for their generous donations which will help support the essential work of Dove House in providing care for adults who have life-limiting illnesses.”

At the time of going to print, and with donations still coming in, a staggering £850 has so far been raised for Dove House by the Withernsea High School community. Around £120 of this came from a festive bake sale held the day before the Santa Ramble as an end-of-term treat.

Commenting on Withernsea High’s contribution, Gemma Hindley, Fundraising Assistant at Dove House, said: “Thank you to all staff and students who took part in the Santa Run at Withernsea High School. It was an excellent event to be a part of. All students appeared to be having fun and did an amazing job in doing their ramble. It means so much to all of us at the hospice that schools around Hull and East Yorkshire want to learn about the hospice and help us to raise funds and awareness of what we do.

The funds raised from this event will make a huge difference to patients and their families in the Hull and East Riding area, and to staff at the hospice. Dove House supports people with life-limiting illnesses and their families to ensure that patients have the best quality of life possible. We rely on the generosity of the people in our community to help us to continue to provide these services.

This year, 53 nurseries and primary schools have taken part in our Elf Run, and four secondary schools have supported our Santa Run. Both runs work well, giving staff and students the flexibility to decide on how they support us through sponsorship or donations.”

Commenting on other festive activities around the region, Gemma added: “We also have our in-memoriam event called Light up a Life, whereby people are invited to a service to remember their loved ones at Christmas. Other initiatives include localised fundraising such as our Christmas Tree Collection in specific postcodes, along with our work in the business community with our Wear It Festive appeal. These events have been established over the course of a number of years, but we are always looking at new, fun and engaging ways to work with our fantastic supporters.”

ABOVE: Year 10 students were the first to tackle the course. They are pictured here at the starting position, accompanied by the ramble’s organisers and representatives from the event’s supporters.

ABOVE: A cold, clear and bright day greeted participants.

ABOVE: Year 10 student, Emily Gardner, got into the festive spirit of the occasion by tackling the course in fancy dress.

ABOVE: Year 7 students preparing for their ramble - including Charlie Nimmo who, thanks to Aldi, had the honour of wearing the costume of the company’s festive mascot – Kevin the Carrot.

ABOVE: Year 7 were quick off the mark!

ABOVE: Gemma Hindley, a Fundraising Assistant from Dove House, supported the event by selling a range of badges and festive items to help contribute to the fundraising.  

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