Olympic Fundraising for Hurricane Devastated School
On the morning of 3rd May, a van was loaded with supplies to be shipped to Joyce Samuel Primary School in the British Virgin Islands. The school, normally home to around 120 pupils from 4-11 years of age, was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, losing its roof, many windows, desks, chairs and most of their teaching supplies. Olympian and College student Elinah, who began her education at Joyce Samuel Primary, soon started to raise money for the school and in November 2017 she teamed up with members of Benson House and Sutton House to raise £1,500 during their joint Charity Week. The funds raised were then used to replace the much needed supplies for Joyce Samuel Primary, currently en route to the school.
On Monday 4th December, Elinah was able to present the results of their fundraising to a very special visitor: the Deputy Director of the London Office of the Government of the British Virgin Islands, Dr Sandra Besson. Elinah presented Dr Besson with a book representing the £1,500 worth of books and other supplies they are sending over to the school.
Elinah received an unexpected boost to her fundraising efforts, when she was invited to address members of the Old Stortfordian Lodge, their wives and guests at their White Table Christmas Lunch on Saturday 9th December. Elinah talked about her life at the College, her Olympic Rio experiences, and, more importantly, the devastating impact that Hurricane Irma brought to the British Virgin Islands earlier this year, completely destroying her primary school. The Lodge had already decided to make a donation to Elinah's worthy cause, namely the proceeds of a raffle. Much to her amazement and surprise, Elinah was subsequently presented with a cheque for £1,000 by the Worshipful Master of the Lodge, who wished her every success with the project. Pictured with Elinah is OS John Rycroft, Chaplain and Mentor of the Lodge.
The College has a long tradition of Charity Week but this is the first time two houses have teamed up. As well as cake sales, they will be holding Christmas card design competitions with the winning designs being printed and sold to raise money, and more. They plan to bulk buy writing and drawing materials, books and other vital teaching resources. The College libraries will also be donating books, all of which will be shipped over to the school so they can continue to teach.
Elinah said, “I was really upset when I heard the news and wanted to do something to help. We are all going through our own book shelves and will be sending old story books and anything else we think might help. I really enjoyed my time at Joyce Samuel Primary and would like to see the school restored.”
Funds may also be donated to this cause via the College Bursary with the reference Charity Week.
Benson and Sutton House are also selling Christmas cards to raise money for Joyce Samuel Primary School. The two Houses recently ran a design competition, with the winners being Benson's Ellie B's Nazareth scene and Sutton's Charlie T's robin, which appear on the cards. All money raised from the sale will go directly towards buying teaching supplies for the school.