17th January 2020 — This total, which sets a Tonbridge record for funds raised in a single year, has been donated to more than 20 local, national and international charities. The main school fundraiser for the year raised enough to build and equip a Child Development Centre for the poorest children in Sri Lanka, and each of the school’s main annual events broke previous record totals.
Some events, such as Pink Day, which raised more than £3,000 for Breast Cancer Now, involved the whole school. Boys dressed in pink outfits and the school was adorned in pink bows and ribbons to express solidarity with all of those affected by cancer. Collections taken after concerts, plays or in chapel services supported a range of charities including Chasing Connor’s Cure, Ellenor, Movember, Cardiac Risk in the Young and The Royal British Legion.
Sales of produce, such as honey made with the school’s bees or apple juice produced from the orchard, supported Farm Africa, and a staff quiz night raised funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Many boys and staff also undertook their own personal challenges, such as log runs or marathons, raising funds for both local and international charities.
A particularly impressive effort came from first-year students, who braved the elements to sleep rough in the Quad for a night in early April, raising £16,726.40 for Kent-based Porchlight. The school’s donations to Porchlight, a charity which helps homeless and vulnerable young people across Kent and the south-east, amount to more than £75,000 over the past five years.
In addition to the funds raised, the boys leave the ‘Sleepout’ event with an insight into the issues than can lead to homelessness, and an understanding of the work of the individuals and organisations who give people a chance to get back on their feet and into employment. Nathan Tough, Community and Corporate Fundraising Officer for Porchlight, said: “Community-wise, Tonbridge is the single biggest contributor to our income, and we cannot thank the school enough for the support it has given us over the years. I would say the school has helped us work with, and potentially house, somewhere in the region of 160 people sleeping rough”.
The school’s biggest success of the year was in raising more than £69,000 for Child Action Lanka (CAL), a charity which works with street children in Sri Lanka. In total, more than £82,000 has now been donated to build and equip a new Child Development Centre in Batticaloa, on the east coast of Sri Lanka. This total owed much to fundraising efforts from across the school community and included a Second Year Social Entrepreneur Project, a ‘simple lunch’ day, a concert organised by music scholar Alex Trigg, a sponsored walk and a hugely popular ‘Colour Run’ involving nearly all boys and many staff. In addition, two 40-foot containers filled with educational resources, toys, musical instruments and bicycles were shipped out to help equip the new centre. Child Action Lanka works to assist more than 1,500 disadvantaged children in bases across Sri Lanka. This centre will transform the educational provision for children in six communities in the Batticaloa region. Plans are under way for a formal opening of the Batticaloa Child Development Centre in summer 2020.
Juliet Burnett, the school’s Community Action Manager, said: “We owe a massive amount of thanks to all boys, staff, parents and the wider school community for giving our fundraising efforts such magnificent support.”