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School raises caash for quake victim

PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 July 2010

THEY tied themselves together, went without food, bought cakes, dyed hair, painted faces, waxed legs, kept schtum, sang, wore pyjamas, kicked penalties, and even avoided using the letter S - all to help victims of the China earthquake.

THEY tied themselves together, went without food, bought cakes, dyed hair, painted faces, waxed legs, kept schtum, sang, wore pyjamas, kicked penalties, and even avoided using the letter S - all to help victims of the China earthquake.

Pupils and staff at North Walsham High School spent last Friday in a fun frenzy of sponsored fundraising, and expect to have collected more than £2,000 for the cause once proceeds of an auction next month have been added to the pot.

The day's events were overseen by teacher and international schools' co-ordinator James Coulson, who underwent a sponsored leg wax in front of pupils in morning and afternoon assemblies.

He said everyone had wanted to show their sympathy for the people of China following the May 12 disaster. One of the schools flattened in Sichuan Province had been about the same size as North Walsham High, and in a similarly rural area. Virtually all the children there had been killed.

Mr Coulson added: “We realise the money we raise isn't going to rebuild the school or town, but it's sending a clear message that people on the other side of the world do care, feel their pain, and feel solidarity with them.”

Among pupils' fundraising ideas were a 50-hour fast by Matt Neave, and Jodie Wills tried not to use the letter S through lessons which included maths with Mrs Shanahan. Some took part in a sponsored silence, while Rose Siggee, Georgia Miles, Danny Frost and Jade Hewitt were among a number who decided to wear pyjamas for the non-uniform day and spent it tied three-legged to friends.

Other staff stunts saw Dave Alston undergo a red and green Mohican haircut in front of his science class, student science teacher Simon Durrant, who plays with band the Carpet Monsters, busked in the playground, history teacher Peter Lambert defended the goal during a penalty shoot-out, and pupils in art teacher Deane Money's class had their faces painted. Sue Dixon and Suzanne Eke ran bring-and-buy and cake stalls, and Hannah Ward organised a raffle.

North Walsham High is one of only four with International School status in Norfolk, according to Mr Coulson.

They had undergone a rigorous assessment by the British Council and had to prove that looking outwards, towards the rest of the world, was embedded within the culture and ethos of everything that went on in the school.

Whereas the national average in British schools of children from black and Asian backgrounds was 19pc, it was only one pc at North Walsham High.

“In this region we tend to be a little bit inward looking and that can create low aspirations,” said Mr Coulson. “We are really trying to address this as a school. Internationalism is now a fundamental and regular part of everything we do here.

“Young people very often get a bad press but the children here have reacted wonderfully to this cause and we are extremely proud of them.”

Headteacher Caroline Brooker said: “There's been a very positive, feel-good, vibe here. I'm pleased to see so many pupils contributing.”

Art by pupils will go on public display at the school next month, and the exhibition will finish with an auction of works, proceeds going to the earthquake appeal.

North Walsham High, which has a long-established friendship with a school in Germany, has now forged links with a school in Romania and will be welcoming a party of Romanian students in October.

Pupils from North Walsham will be paying a return visit in February, and their trip will include a trip to Transylvania, Dracula's birthplace, where they will be filming an old-style horror movie.

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