Caring children saw the results of their charity fundraising close-up when an ambulance visited their school’s playground. The pupils at St Columba’s in Wallsend had sponsored the vehicle, raising £275 for Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, which provides free transport to and from hospital for cancer patients in the Newcastle area.

The sponsorship also saw a selection of the children’s colourful artwork feature on the sides of the ambulance, making it instantly recognisable.

Our Mini Vinnie pupil charity group within the school worked throughout the year to raise money for Daft as a Brush,” said head of school Rachel Quinn. “They were then able to sponsor a new patient ambulance. We have had links with Daft as a Brush for a number of years through our parish priest, Fr David Smith, who is a patron of the charity and has helped us build connections with them. The children go every year to the Daft as a Brush Centre to plant new flowers in the grounds.

The whole school community took part in the fundraising, whether this was through selling raffle tickets, making delicious chocolate tiffin for a cake stall, or donating money,” she explained. “Our pupils were excited and proud that the money they had raised was able to help such a worthy cause. The children achieved more than they originally expected and the community were so generous.

Inspired by a visit from a member of the Daft as a Brush team, the young fundraisers also designed artwork to be used to ‘wrap’ the new ambulance.

The children tried to think of simple signs or symbols associated with the school and the local area, such as Hadrian’s Wall, the park, their local church et cetera,” continued Miss Quinn. “They also thought about ‘happy’ things to bring joy to the patients who would be using this transport – sunshine, rainbows, flowers and friendship. The children were so excited to see the vehicle in person. They frequently see the Daft as a Brush vehicles in their neighbourhood and couldn’t wait to see theirs in action!

The fundraising initiative was headed by Year 4 teacher Lesley Watson, and was one of several carried out at St Columba’s, which is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

Our pupils take over fundraising initiatives and are always keen to support charities or others they see in need,” added Miss Quinn. “They are such an important part of our fabric as a Catholic community and an outward expression of our faith. The children are always looking for new ways to raise money and often suggest causes they feel need our support. We support a child in Ghana through Action Aid, a dog for the blind (Dexter), CAFOD, Fair Trade, and the local community through Wallsend’s Walking With refugee centre.

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