The children, staff and parents of Danes Hill School in Surrey, about 20 miles southwest of central London, recently held a Charities Day and Readathon, raising the magnificent sum of £8,105 to help the children at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok.
The Charities Day was a huge success with the children setting up and managing a number of fundraising ventures – including cupcake decorating stalls, movie venues, hair styling salons, a pizza stall and tombola.
The Readathon, an event run by the school's Senior Librarian in which the children are sponsored to read, was a similarly big success. Staff say the children’s enthusiasm for reading for a good cause was a joy to see. One Year 7 pupil said, “It is a great way to raise money for charity as I love reading".
An important project their contribution is supporting is the English teaching programme in Bangkok founded by long-term Mercy supporter Alf Collett. Alf describes himself as an educator, musician and humanitarian; he's a UK qualified primary school teacher, and has been teaching for over 16 years, during the last decade in Bangkok.
Alf has now stepped away from the classroom in order to manage and inspire others to become involved in the language programme for the Mercy Centre funded kindergarten schools.
Volunteer teachers are now providing English lessons for as many as 300 children – those who live at the Centre in Klong Toey, and those who attend 11 pre-schools. The children have 4 half-hour lessons each week and are learning fast. Their futures will be transformed by an ability to speak the ‘universal’ language of English; it will enable them to progress in education, and multiply their chances of good employment later on. The goal is to provide English teaching for all Mercy children – a goal which is much closer now with the wonderful donation from Danes Hill.
Father Joe has sent a message to everyone involved saying, “You are absolutely AWESOME!” – which they certainly are.
Image: Year 8 Charities Prefect Toby Hanley hands over their cheque to School Governor Mrs Rosie Wood. Photo: Claire Walsh