Pupils dress down to support schoolmates sporting dreams
Over 500 pupils from York High School shunned their school uniform on Friday 22nd July, 2016, in order to raise vital funds for fellow pupil, Hayden Lambert.
The 13-year-old from Dringhouses, in York, is desperately trying to raise the funds needed to buy a bespoke sports wheelchair that will enable him to continue playing the sport that he loves.
Hayden, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition that results in muscle degeneration, has been playing wheelchair football since 2013.
The schoolmates took part in a dress-down Friday after the schools Headteacher, David Ellis, discovered that Hayden needed to raise £4,654 for the wheelchair. As he explained: “Hayden’s been at the school for two years and he’s settled in well. One of his passions is wheelchair football and he’s quickly established himself as a talented member of Jorvik Warriors Powerchair Football Club.
“Unfortunately, he has to borrow a specialist sports wheelchair in order to play and that’s far from ideal. To progress in the sport he needs a chair that will give him greater movement and speed on the court. However, the one that would meet his needs is extremely expensive so I thought a dress-down day would be a great way to help raise funds towards the equipment.”
After discussing the idea with colleagues, Mr Ellis proposed the event to the pupils at the school. The 55-year-old, father of two, was delighted by their response. Over 500 pupils paid a minimum of £1 each to attend school in casual clothing raising a total of £600 towards the cost of Hayden’s wheelchair.
“They loved the idea,” said Mr Willis. “Given how hot it’s been recently it gave them the chance to throw off their ties and cool down. It was also a great way to celebrate the last day of term without the constant battle to keep shirts tucked in!”
Mr Ellis said that the support that the pupils have given to Hayden, perfectly reflects the school‘s ethos. As he explained: “As a former specialist sports college, the school’s mission statement is based on the values of the Olympic and Paralympic games.
“We believe that sport in its widest sense can be a catalyst for helping young people to grow in confidence and develop the extra skills that employee’s value. I’m proud that the response of our pupils will go some way in helping Hayden to continue participating in sport.”
Thanks to fundraising advice from Caudwell Children, it’s hoped that Hayden won’t have to wait too long for his new sports chair. As his mother, Sarah, aged 41, explained: “The charity has helped us to start a fundraising appeal and they’ve contacted a number of different organisations on our behalf, including other charities, grant giving bodies, rotary clubs and masons lodges.
“However, I want to appeal to the public and business community and ask them to give us a helping hand. Hayden fears that without a new chair he may have to give up the game but with their help, and the fantastic support we’ve received from York High School, I believe my son could go far in the game.”
You can support Hayden through his Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chair4hayden