Thousands of youngsters turned globetrotters for the biggest fundraiser ever for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Children across West Yorkshire took part in a sponsored Around the World Challenge. Primary school pupils were asked to walk one mile and secondary school students two miles to see if the miles added together could exceed the 24,901-mile circumference of the Earth.
More than 25,000 youngsters at 80 schools, youth groups and uniformed units across West Yorkshire took part. Not only did they easily reach the target, they raised more than £80,000 for the hospice at Bradley.
Hospice community fundraiser Lynsey Marshall said: “I said in the office that it would be great if we could raise just £80. We could never have imagined they would actually raise over £80,000 – and that’s before we add in the Gift Aid, which will amount to a further £10,000 at least.
“This is the most successful campaign we’ve ever run by far. It just shows you how children respond to the idea of other children who are in need. Our message is a massive ‘thank you’ to the thousands of inspirational children who walked around the world to help us and who have raised awareness among families who need us but may not have known about us.”
For the challenge the hospice worked with the Pennine Sports Partnership (PSP) which provides PE lessons for local schools. They took the idea into their partnering schools who were keen to get involved.
“Schools are always looking for more exciting ways to engage children, rather than yet another ‘dress-down’ day, and the walk also encouraged healthy exercise,” said Lynsey. “PSP suggested doing the challenge during children’s PE lessons so it didn’t disrupt the school day.”
Daniel Hermann, partnership manager at PSP, said: “We made sure we went out and spoke to every school and group that wanted to be involved – we did over 100 school assemblies.
“It became clear that the children felt very moved by what we do at the hospice. One 13-year-old lad came up to me after an assembly and donated the 50p he’d brought in to buy sweets with. Another boy went to Wembley with his family to see Huddersfield Town play and he added five laps of the pitch to his own Around the World Challenge, raising £300 all by himself.”
Castle Hill School at Newsome made a whole day of the challenge.
“They had a chain of wheelchairs all doing the challenge, led by the music therapists,” says Lynsey. “It was an amazing thing to see!”
The hospice plans to run the challenge again next year during Children’s Hospice Week from May 21 to 28, 2018.