Bexhill school donates thousands to cancer charity in memory of former pupil

Pictured: Front, Sophie's younger brother Jan with a copy of the book. Back row (L-R): Joseph Zillwood, Lydia Clark, Gail Mackay, Jean Clark, Maria Hudd, Louise Kavanagh and Miranda Pennington.
Pictured: Front, Sophie's younger brother Jan with a copy of the book. Back row (L-R): Joseph Zillwood, Lydia Clark, Gail Mackay, Jean Clark, Maria Hudd, Louise Kavanagh and Miranda Pennington.

Staff and pupils at a Bexhill school were delighted and proud to donate a huge sum of money to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity this week, in memory of a former pupil.

St Richard’s Catholic College welcomed Lydia Clark from the charity to its Year 10 service on Tuesday morning (November 27), where she was presented with a cheque for £14,774.23 by pupils Louise Kavanagh and Joseph Zillwood.

Of that impressive sum, £12,500 was raised by Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction, in memory of former pupil Sophie Maria Taylor, who passed away on April 5, 2017.

The rest was raised by pupils through a variety of events, including cake bakes and sponsored cycles.

Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction was a charity postcard auction which ran during June 2018.

It was the idea of Chiara Wells, a class-mate and friend of Sophie’s who wanted to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity as they had cared for Sophie and her family during her illness.

The idea was supported and co-ordinated by art teacher Miranda Pennington.

Celebrities, renowned artists – including Sir Quentin Blake – pupils, parents, staff and accomplished local artists were among those to contribute work, and more than 570 original postcards were auctioned on eBay.

The school has now published a hard-back book featuring all the amazing postcards as a celebration of Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction. All profits, including a small donation from each book, will go to the The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

A copy of the book was presented to Sophie’s younger brother Jan during the special service. Afterwards, Sophie’s parents said: “We will cherish it forever.”

You can view a PDF of the book and purchase a copy from www.blurb.co.uk/b/9041197-sophie-s-postcard.

Parents and pupils at St Richard’s will be able to order through the school without postage this term.

Lydia, senior community fundraising manager at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, said: “We are extremely grateful for all the hard work that St Richard’s has put into raising this amazing amount.

“The money will go towards developing life-saving treatment, pioneering research and excellent patient care at The Royal Marsden.”

Also attending the service at St Richard’s was Gail Mackay from Custard Design, who printed the blank postcards and envelopes, and freelance journalist Jean Clark, who helped promote Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction.

The Bexhill Observer was also proud to support the event during 2018.

Sophie’s Secret Postcard Auction will be returning in 2020, in what would have been Sophie’s last year at the school. To keep up-to-date with any future fundraising plans, visit www.sophiespostcard.com.

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