Pupils raise thousands with virtual lockdown trek to Sri Lanka

Pupils at Bassingbourn Village College trekked, ran and cycled the distance to Sri Lanka to raise money for a brain tumour...

Pupils at Bassingbourn Village College trekked, ran and cycled the distance to Sri Lanka to raise money for a brain tumour charity - Credit: Tom's Trust

Students and staff from Bassingbourn trekked, ran and cycled the distance to Sri Lanka between them to raise money for a children's brain tumour charity.

Bassingbourn Village College raised £4,289.83 by travelling more than 7,000 miles - the equivalent of walking from their school to Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital.

The money raised will 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 as a way of improving pupils' mental wellbeing during the latest lockdown, while they were learning remotely.

The four colleges of the school - Moore, Luther King, Shakespeare and Keller - kept up momentum by making the challenge a competition.

Between Monday, February 8 and Sunday, February 21, Keller College travelled the furthest overall, with 2,558 miles, and Moore College raised the most with £1,253.75.

The students chose to raise money for Tom's Trust, which provides mental health support to children with brain tumours and their families.

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College principal Vickey Poulter said: "The trek was launched to challenge the whole school community to do something active away from their screens during lockdown.

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."

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, and were determined that no other family should be left unsupported.

Debs 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.

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