Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

Inspiring confident young people to thrive in a changing world


  1. News
  2. June 2024
  3. School community celebrates power of ‘togetherness’ in the fight against cancer

School community celebrates power of ‘togetherness’ in the fight against cancer

17 June 2024 (by admin)

Staff and students at Withernsea High School have been praised for their determination and compassion after collectively helping to raise over £3,000 for a cancer support charity.

Taking inspiration from a friend and colleague who continues to benefit from the work of Macmillan Cancer Support, a group of eighteen staff members ran the recent Jane Tomlinson ‘Run for All’ Hull 10K in a show of solidarity for all those who are dealing with cancer.

Running under the banner of ‘Team Withernsea’, the group, comprising both novice and experienced runners, stepped up to the challenge of the occasion. In doing so, they helped to raise almost £1,500 through sponsorship and support from friends, family and the wider school community.

Among the participants was School Sports Coordinator and Teacher of PE, Nick Richmond, who said: “We have been overwhelmed by the donations received on behalf of the team. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed financially, as well as those who offered support both in the lead up to the event, and on the day itself, for making it such a memorable occasion.

“The atmosphere was incredible and it was a privilege watching the team supporting each other throughout the event. Many runners stuck together and cheered others over the line at the finish. Such activities really demonstrate togetherness and the power of working as a team to boost morale, reinforce positive relationships and achieve a common goal.

“There have already been discussions among the staff about future events and it’s great that this experience has introduced a passion for running and exercise to new runners that they want to carry forward. We’ve also had a lot of interest from staff who didn’t participate this year who are keen to sign up for next year.”

The Run for All, which took place on Sunday, June 9, brought together staff from across the whole school, including teachers, members of the leadership team, and support and admin staff. Among them was Head of French, Tracy Styche, who was persuaded to take part in her first 10K on the back of the momentum felt around school.

“I don’t run, and I haven’t done since I was at school! However, I’ve always liked a challenge and when I was invited to take part, I thought ‘why not go for it?’. We all know people who have been touched by cancer, and I have sadly lost a couple of close friends to it over the years. To run in aid of such a worthy cause gave me a real sense of pride.   

“Preparing for the event has been a massive journey, but I got into a good routine of running two or three times a week - increasing the distances each time. The support from family and friends has been amazing and I would like to thank them for their encouragement. I now intend to keep up the running as there are some perfect routes near my home, as well as a local Parkrun, that I’m keen to do”.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone by the success of the staff, nineteen students – many of them members of the school’s weekly running club – recently completed their own sponsored 10K around the local area. Following a route which took them cross-country from school towards Hollym, back into Withernsea alongside the A1033, and then onto the full length of the town’s promenade, the group completed their challenge in around one and three-quarter hours.

Explaining how their involvement came about, Nick Richmond said: “Inspired by the staff who had signed up to do the Hull 10K, a suggestion was taken to the school’s ‘Board for Change’ [Student Council] that some students could run their own sponsored 10K to help raise further funds for Macmillan. We subsequently opened up the opportunity to members of the running club, plus any others in the wider student body who wanted to take part.

“Prior to this event, the furthest the club members had run in a standard after school session was 7K. We therefore spent time training in the lead up to the event, increasing the distances being run each week. With mixed ages and abilities taking part, everyone signed up with the understanding that the group would stick together and that it wouldn’t be a race. We built in short breaks along the way and, similar to the staff event, it was a pleasure to see more experienced runners helping to support those who were struggling or were a little slower.”  

Running alongside the students were five staff members, with a sixth positioned in Hollym where a makeshift drinks station was set up to help keep the runners hydrated.

Among those taking part was Josh Roberts, a Year 7 student and running club member, who raised an impressive £450 through sponsorship. “I found it enjoyable but very tiring and I tried not to think about the pain and just kept going. I really wanted to do it because I know people who have had cancer, and I wanted to show my support for the charity. Helping to raise so much money, thanks to friends and family and people who live on the same street as me, made me really happy.”  

Also taking part was Year 8 student Alfie Foster who added: “I really enjoyed the run and it was good fun to do. I’d never run that far before and felt really pleased to have completed it. I wanted to do it because a family member has fought cancer in the past and I wanted to give something back to charity. I enjoyed the run so much that I am now considering joining the running club.”

Reflecting on the wider impact of the event, Nick Richmond added: “Our student-led 10K provided another great opportunity for us to promote healthy active lifestyles whilst raising funds for a cause close to a lot of people’s hearts. The camaraderie was great throughout, with students encouraging and supporting each other – demonstrating resilience and teamwork. The money raised by our students alone surpassed all expectations and made a considerable impact on the final total. We are hugely proud of everything that they have achieved.”

Thanks to the generosity of the school community, and the efforts of those taking part, a total of £1,082.49 was raised by the student runners. Coupled with the £1,508.51 raised by the staff through their 10K, the overall total currently stands at an impressive £2,591. With Gift Aid, the government’s tax relief scheme on charitable donations also taken into account, the final figure reaches an impressive £3,198.11.

Reflecting on the collective efforts of the school’s staff and students, Mark Crofts, Headteacher, said: “I am incredibly proud of our staff, students and the support of our school community in helping to raise so much money towards a cause which everybody knows is an important one. Helped by the efforts of our student runners, Team Withernsea far exceeded their fundraising target of £2,000 – a testament to a great community effort. I am extremely proud of all participants and supporters, as they should be of themselves.”

Among those taking part was the member of staff whose own cancer diagnosis, and subsequent treatment, inspired friends and colleagues to step up to the physical challenge of completing the Run for All.

Commenting on the experience, the member of staff, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “I’m really not a runner and this was my first ever 10K. I felt really proud to be taking part and, at the back of mind, I kept thinking about how many people could be helped by the money being raised. It was amazing to see so many other people on the day wearing vests in support of many different charities, and it really hit home how much support there is out there for the work being done by a variety of charities in different contexts.”

Crucially, the staff member’s involvement in the run provided a welcome distraction and a focus away from a key hospital appointment scheduled for the following day. “I’m delighted to say that after two years of living with cancer, I received my first ‘all clear’ the day after the run. It was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My regular Macmillan nurse was sat with me as I was told the news, and she was proud of me for completing the 10K – especially with this appointment on my mind at the same time.

“Macmillan is a charity which I hold very close to my heart as they have been there for me in every way possible through a very challenging time. The members of Team Withernsea are already discussing options for other physical fundraising challenges to help raise further funds for them.”

“I received my first cancer diagnosis in May 2022, and my second one in April 2023. It’s been a tough couple of years. You hear the words ‘you have cancer’, and a numb feeling comes over you and the room feels silent. People are talking at you, but you don’t really hear what they are saying. All I do remember hearing was my Macmillan nurse, Claire, telling me that ‘we will beat this together’. It is a quote that has stayed with me as I knew from that point onwards, I would be supported through the journey I was about to face.

“From investigations, diagnosis, scans, treatments, surgeries and aftercare, Macmillan have been there every step of the way. Their staff truly go above and beyond their roles and have supported me and my family through it all - either in person, or on the end of the phone to answer any questions or worries we had. They have been a pillar of strength and support and I am eternally grateful to them and all who have got me to where I am today.”

Since its formation in 1911, the Macmillan Cancer Support Charity has grown to be the UK’s leading source of cancer support. They run public campaigns, build partnerships, and influence decision-makers on all cancer-related policies at UK-wide, national and local levels.

Macmillan provides services for people living with cancer at every stage of their cancer experience, including emotional, practical, physical, and financial support. As they are 98% funded by voluntary donations, fundraising is essential to make sure they can deliver the vital support needed by people living with cancer.

Contemporary data from the charity reveals the impact of donations, with £71 being all that is needed to help run their online support community for three hours – typically giving almost 200 people affected by cancer both emotional and practical support.

£646 secures a Macmillan Support Worker for a week, helping patients, family members and carers manage the social and practical problems of living with cancer, while £1202 pays for a Macmillan nurse for one week – helping people living with cancer, and their families, receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.

Anyone wishing to donate to the charity on behalf of Team Withernsea’s efforts can do so via the following link: www.justgiving.com/page/whs10k 

The link will remain open until the end of the summer term, at which time a final total will be announced. 


ABOVE: Staff and students celebrate raising £2,591 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Pictured are members of the school’s running club, alongside staff from Team Withernsea. [Photo Credit: Tim Nuttall]

ABOVE: Official Team Withernsea photo, taken at the Jane Tomlinson Run for All Hull 10K on Sunday, June 9. [Photo Credit: Run for All]


ABOVE: The route of the annual Jane Tomlinson Run for All Hull. [Photo Credit: Run for All]


ABOVE: Running Club members make their way down the promenade during their 10K race on Thursday, 23rd May. [Photo Credit: Nick Richmond]


ABOVE: Max Stubbs and Macauley Kitcher led the way as the group ran cross-country to Hollym. [Photo Credit: Nick Richmond]


ABOVE: Flat out! Will Cuthbert enjoyed a much-needed and well-earned rest after completing the student 10K.[Photo Credit: Nick Richmond]


ABOVE: ‘We did it!’ Daniel Wilkin, Charles Graham, Noah Mills and Alfie Foster (foreground) were among the students who helped to raise over £1,000 by taking part in their own 10K run.[Photo Credit: Nick Richmond]


ABOVE: The student 10K took the group on a route out of Withernsea, cross-country to Hollym and back into Withernsea where they ran the full length of the promenade before returning to school. [Photo Credit: Strava]


Share this:

Back to the Top