Bridlington School pupils walk 500 miles...and then walk 500 more

Approaching the finish line
Approaching the finish line

Bridlington School pupils are clocking up 1,000 miles to allow a new block of classrooms to be built at its partner school in Africa.

It has formed a close link with the Hope Primary School in Kenema in Sierra Leone and hopes its fundraising efforts will see the new facility ready to open by next Easter.

En route to the lifeboat station

En route to the lifeboat station

All of the Year Seven pupils in Bridlington walked from school to the new lifeboat station last week – a combined total of 500 miles – and the Year Eight group will complete a similar challenge next term.

The walk had to be rescheduled because the original date was affected by the Beast From The East storm, but the fund-raiser took place last Wednesday in the last week of term.

Mark Parker-Randall, lead teacher for the Global School Partnership at Bridlington School, said: “Easter is all about new life, new beginnings and hope for a better future. Our Year Sevens are stepping out on a collective 500-mile sponsored walk not only to raise the much-needed funds to achieve our finance target, but also to very visibly encourage others within the local community to take their lead and to step out and make a difference in our world for the greater good of humankind.”

All of the school’s students were commissioned as Young Bridlingtonians last April and have been working with the Old Bridlingtonians group to raise £23,500 needed to lay the foundation and build an additional three classroom block in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

At the finish line at the lifeboat station

At the finish line at the lifeboat station

In the past year, £13,000 has been raised and it is hoped that the laying of the foundation for the new classroom block will be in place before the rainy season begins in Sierra Leone next month.

Mr Parker-Randall said: “When I first visited Sierra Leone in October 2014 as part of a teacher exchange through the British Council Connecting Classrooms programme, and more specifically Kenema, I witnessed first-hand that 75% of the children in that community were school-going age but due to a lack of primary educational facilities many of those children were not able to go to school or gain an education, thereby preventing them from gaining the knowledge, skills, teaching and learning needed to be able to move out of their desperate poverty.

“It was then that I knew in my heart the real reason for my visit – I had to get a school built for the children there.

“I came back home and shared my heart with our school students and staff, and they too were of the belief that this is what we should collectively do.”

Pupils setting off from the school

Pupils setting off from the school

Thanks to efforts of staff and students in Bridlington, Hope Primary School opened in October 2015 when the country was struggling with the Ebola outbreak.

It currently has three classrooms, a storeroom, an office and toilet, with a recent addition being a fresh water well for the whole community within the school grounds.

More than 200 children attend the school, but some are having to be taught in a small workshop space with no windows or lighting, but it is hoped the new building will take shape from October.

Year 7 on their way

Year 7 on their way

Bridlington School pupils

Bridlington School pupils

Bridlington School pupils

Bridlington School pupils

Bridlington School pupils

Bridlington School pupils