Toms Trust Charity
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Schoolchildren raise more than £4,000 for Tom’s Trust by trekking to Sri Lanka in lockdown challenge

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As children head back to school this week one secondary school will be celebrating more than just returning to the classroom.

Bassingbourn Village College staff and students trekked, ran and cycled over 7,000 miles between them, the equivalent of walking from their school to the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, to raise £4,289.83 of vital funds for the children’s brain tumour charity, Tom’s Trust.

By fundraising so much money, the students who took part have been able to cover the cost of vital psychological treatment for four children with brain tumours and 12 family members for the next year.

Staff at the school suggested the initiative to improve students’ mental wellbeing during the latest lockdown while the students were remote learning.

The four colleges of the school – Moore College, Luther King College, Shakespeare College and Keller College – kept up momentum by making the challenge a competition to see who could cover the most mileage and raise the most money for charity.

Debs Whiteley with Bassingbourn Village College students on their first day back to school

Overall, between Monday 8th February and Sunday 21st February, Keller College travelled the furthest with 2,558 miles and Moore College raised the most with £1,253.75. The students, aged 11 to 16, voted for Tom’s Trust as the charity they’d most like to help. Tom’s Trust is dedicated to providing mental health support to children with brain tumours in the UK and their families, from diagnosis and beyond.

Vickey Poulter, Principal at Bassingbourn Village College, based on the Cambridgeshire/Hertfordshire border, said “the trek was launched to challenge the whole school community to do something active away from their screens during lockdown”.

She said: “As a secondary school whose students were experiencing remote education, we felt that it was important to do something collectively that could support others as well.

“We also wanted to use this opportunity to raise some much-needed funds for a local charity. The students selected Tom’s Trust and we are delighted to be contributing to their cause.”

Debs Whiteley, Founder of Tom’s Trust, said: “We know how important mental health is for all children, which is why a fundraising initiative like this one which gets children exercising during this incredibly challenging period of time for us all, is so poignant to the cause the students of Bassingbourn Village College have raised money for.

“Our psychologists at Tom’s Trust change children’s lives, as well as their families’ lives, as they overcome the various difficulties of battling a brain tumour.

“We can’t thank the students and staff of Bassingbourn Village College enough for all they’ve done.”

Tom’s Trust was established in 2011 by Andrew and Debs Whiteley following the death of their only son Tom, aged nine, after a seven-month battle with a brain tumour. They received almost no support during diagnosis, treatment or beyond. After Tom died, they were determined that no other family would be left unsupported.

Debs attended Bassingbourn Village College on their reopening day on Monday 8th March to congratulate the students and presented them with Tom’s Trust t-shirts to say thank you for all their efforts.

To donate to the students’ fundraising page go to www.justgiving.com/team/BVCstaffandstudents, and to find out more about fundraising for Tom’s Trust, go to www.tomstrust.org.uk/fundraise/

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