There was a definite goal in mind when Whitley Bay youngsters tackled their latest fundraising initiative with a Football Fun Day. As well as supporting Children in Need, the pupils at Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School were raising money for Mfuwe Mags children’s football teams in Zambia.

The charity day was inspired by the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools campaign, which covers the importance of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.

This meant a whole school launch of the initiative teaching the children about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” explained Alex Raynor, who is co-leading the scheme with fellow Star of the Sea teacher Sarah Taylor.

The first right they wanted to support was Article 31, ‘All children have the right to play’,” she continued. “We invited Crispin Mason-Jones into school to talk about the Mfuwe Mags football teams he has been working with in Zambia. Crispin is a retired architect who accompanied his wife to Zambia where she was working as a doctor. The children had no kit, no facilities, and Crispin has raised funds and collected kit to take over and support the teams.

Star of the Sea’s response was the Football Fun Day, in which all 360 pupils at the school took part.

The children brought in cash donations as well as their old football boots and shin pads, which are crucial for the children playing on hard, pot-holed pitches,” said Mrs Raynor. “We had football activities inside and outside the classrooms, and children came in wearing their favourite football strips.

The proceeds from the event will be split evenly between Children in Need and the Mfuwe Mags footballers – who have also won support from Alan Shearer and Newcastle United. The charitable venture was just the start of this year’s fundraising for Star of the Sea, which is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust.

Building on this, we are organising a Big Dribble fundraiser with Alive and Kicking to raise money for footballs for our school and for Zambia,” added Mrs Raynor. “To raise the children’s awareness of other life experiences, we are linking with a school in Zambia called Aunt Mary’s, which started in awful circumstances and is now thriving. We also have plans to work with Project Luangwe, which is the charity arm of a group of safari companies who want to give back to the community in Zambia.

These initiatives are very important to children in our school. As well as strengthening our curriculum, as a ‘Rights Respecting School’, it is important that the children have a full understanding of what needs and rights look like around the world, and why it is so important to protect them. As a Catholic school, we believe it is important to live out our Gospel Values of Kindness and Compassion.

Sent on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and Barking Dog Media. For more information contact or call 07754 271086.

Star of the Sea Primary School, Whitley Bay football fundraiser

Images reproduced with the kind permission of Kate Buckingham.