Two pupils lead funds campaign to back hospice

Ripon Grammar School students Grace Withyman (l) and LouiseTaylor (r)
Ripon Grammar School students Grace Withyman (l) and LouiseTaylor (r)
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A fundraising drive led by two students who lost their fathers to cancer has raised a record sum for the hospice which cared for them.

Staff and students at Ripon Grammar School have backed Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate, raising £15,397 in the school’s charity week. Events included a dance off, a staff rock band concert, sumo wrestling and a pantomime, a charity ball, swims, runs and marathons.

Louise Taylor, 17, and Grace Withyman, 16, initiated the campaign when they presented a moving assembly to the whole school, explaining how the hospice, which needs to raise £5m annually, had helped them.

Grace, from Ripon, whose father Jim, a barrister, died aged 49 in 2017, said she was delighted at how much money the school had raised.

“It’s such an amazing cause. This charity is so important, as I think all families should have the same support on offer if they need it, as I know from first-hand experience that it makes the world of difference when you’re losing your loved one,” she said.

Louise, from Grewelthorpe, who wants to be a doctor, said: “I am so proud of the way the whole school got behind the cause and made it such a school community fundraising effort.”

She said staff at the hospice had helped her whole family when her father Chris, a builder, died aged 54: “I know our fundraising will make such a difference to so many people’s lives.”

The whole school had rallied behind the campaign, with history teacher David Bruce raising £1,000 through his first marathon. Fourth former Ella Foster completed 10 10K runs to raise another £1,500, while pupils raised £390 by swimming the distance of a marathon in the school pool in their lunch hour.

Chief executive of Saint Michael’s Hospice, Tony Collins, said the “remarkable” sum was the greatest amount ever raised by one school.

“We loved hearing about the different events held and it sounded as though a great deal of fun was had, with film nights, pantos and quizzes,” he said.