TGS putting the FUN into Fundraising

The Gatwick School put the FUN into Fundraising and raised over £2,000 for Chestnut Tree House

In December, The Gatwick School, chose to raise money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, as they wanted to support a charity that changes lives and really makes a difference to local families.

They decided to put the fun into fundraising by signing up to take part in one of Chestnut Tree House’s Reindeer Runs! But their efforts didn’t stop there as the pupils went on to set up non-stop sporting events for an entire day.

Olivia Newman of The Gatwick School said: “When Chestnut Tree House community fundraiser, Jayne Todd, came to visit the school and talk to us about the hospice, the pupils became really engaged with fundraising. They knew that their fantastic efforts would benefit a worthwhile cause, and that every pound raised would make a real difference to local children and families cared for by the charity.”

Armed with reindeer antlers and red noses provided by Chestnut Tree House, the school sent out sponsorship forms to parents to get the ball rolling.

As a unique school, combining primary and secondary, the teachers wanted to make sure this was an event that included everyone. To facilitate this, Miss O’Neill introduced her year 7-10 sports ambassadors to the idea, asking them to organise events. They split into groups and chose a primary year group each to plan their activity.


Year 7 pupils, Joseph Harley, Ethan Jackson, Manahil Ahmad and Lily-Rose Brock, worked with Reception, and chose to do dance based activities such as musical statues and musical bumps. Year 1 were coordinated by Annie Hitchcock, Kayden Parry, Sofia Alecseeva and Dylan Bendall – all year 8 – and took part in different obstacle courses for their Reindeer Run, as well as penalty shoot outs, target bean bag and many more.

Sports ambassadors in year 9, Luke McDonald, Ben McDonald and Katie Steere worked with the excitable but focused group of year 2 pupils, creating a carrousel of activities ranging from parachute challenges to penalty shoot outs and obstacle courses.

Year 10 sports ambassadors led the oldest primary year group at The Gatwick School, year 3. Maddie Brown, Shane Smith, Jess Miles, Immanuel Nykee and Joe Vinten did a great job organising their activities, which ranged from boxing to skipping.

Olivia said: “The maturity and organisational skills shown by the sports ambassadors was amazing. They are a real credit to not only the PE Department but the whole school. Not only was the Reindeer Run – and other associated activities – a great success, but the ambassadors did a great job in supporting those with special education needs to make sure all felt part of the day. We’d like to say a special thank you to Miss O’Neill for organising the sports ambassadors and supporting throughout the Reindeer Run.

After the activities finished, the school collected all the sponsorship money, sent it off to Chestnut Tree House and waited to find out how much they had raised. They have just been told that they raised a massive £2,008.28.

Olivia continued: “I was bursting with pride when I found out how much we had raised. I never expected that we’d be able to make such a difference. The letter we received from Chestnut Tree House explained how the money would help, and just proved to us that we’d chosen an amazing charity to support. We all feel extremely happy and privileged to have raised money for them.

Jayne Todd, Community Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “Chestnut Tree House provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions across Sussex and South East Hampshire – both at the hospice near Arundel, and in families’ own homes. It costs over £3.5 million every year to provide this care and we rely heavily on the support of the local community."

We are so grateful to The Gatwick School for their support, and it’s wonderful to hear how all the pupils got involved in the Reindeer Run and fundraising. Every donation we receive is important, but it is heart-warming to see young people really engage with what we do. Everyone at Chestnut Tree House would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at The Gatwick School – this money really will make a big difference to local children and families.”

The Gatwick School take great pride in raising money for charities, and plan to work with Chestnut Tree House again during 2018.