Charity Review 2011-2012

This year has seen an impressive variety of charitable endeavours occurring throughout the school - from the immense fundraising by the Devizes to Westminster kayakers to the annual Valentine's Day carnations sales - and there has certainly been a great deal of engagement on this front from the Marlborough community. 

The members of the Charity Think Tank have worked with great enthusiasm behind the scenes under the inspirational leadership of both Mr Lamont and Mr Dennis. At the beginning of the year we presented our selection of charities to the rest of the pupil body at the year group assemblies and the pupils then voted on their favourite three for the carol service retiring collection. These were: Tildy's Trust, Macmillan, SKRUM and Horatio's Garden. Whether it be scavenging for unwanted games kit to send off to Swaziland with SOS Kit Aid, or selling the leftover cakes from Mrs Moore's MacMillan Cake Sale or helping on a stall on the High Street during the lighting of the Marlborough Town Christmas Lights, each challenge has been met with great enthusiasm - and subsequently a great deal of enjoyment. The Lower Sixth have all been busy undertaking the annual 'Ten Pound Challenge' in true entrepreneurial style, as they raise money for Care for Casualties. 

Perhaps the most commendable event of the year, however, was the Whole School Walk on Super Sunday. This demonstrated the true spirit of the College through the enthusiastic participation of the Marlborough community on all fronts. The event occurs every five years, under the incredible organisation of both Mr Conlen and Mr Finlay, who work tirelessly to organise the route and logistics of the day to make it the great success it promises to be. This year, however, marked a more momentous occasion, as we celebrate the Master's big farewell. The College therefore enjoyed an honorary evensong Chapel service followed by the much anticipated 'Master's Farewell Illumination,' which took place after the walk. Here the talents of the pupil body were expressed through a variety of acts - from cup stacking to comedy sketches and short film clips. Although everyone was undoubtedly a little fatigued, the atmosphere of the evening was that of great enjoyment and excitement - which was exemplified through the standing ovation given to the Master as he left the Memorial Hall. 

Fireworks were ignited at 9am to signal the start of the day, as the entirety of the Marlborough College community embarked on the long anticipated 20 mile walk. Despite the arduous and inclement weather conditions, the pupils and staff trudged determinedly along the Marlborough Ridgeway, with a total of around a thousand people participating. We chose to set a theme of 'silly hats' to keep the morale high and to add to the spirit of the day. Specially designed T-shirts and wristbands were given to each walker, and along the course of the walk there were various face painting points and stalls selling food and drink to encourage the participants. The majority of the school - including the Master, much to the delight of the pupils - sported a range of humorous painted 'moustaches' and other facial attributes. There was also a treasure hunt for the children of staff, and the unnamed 'Easter Bunny' even popped up at various checkpoints to pose for photos. 

Each pupil was set the challenge of raising at least £100. This money was subdivided between the pupil's House charity (selected democratically through a House voting system); The Kempson-Rosedale Enterprise Trust; and The Lord's Taverners. The House charity received 50% of that House's income, whilst the other two were allocated 25% each. We aimed to raise a significant amount of money for a spread of charities through all fourteen houses. This was also our first year of using the 'Just Giving' website to sort the donations. 

The aim of the day was to encourage charitable fundraising within the pupil body, as well as to bring the whole school together in a day of great entertainment that exemplified the Marlborough spirit. Aside from the many blisters and aching feet, there was a great sense of relief and achievement felt by each of the pupils as they reached the final registration point. Staggeringly, donations thus far have amounted to over £50,000 with contributions still coming. 

The Charity Think Tank also invited and hosted many of the guest speakers from different charities over the course of the year. 

The last day of the Summer Term will see a celebrity team from the Lord's Taverners play a Marlborough College development XI. This day will be another platform for both raising money and awareness for the work of the Lord's Taverners. 

It is uplifting to see how Charity at Marlborough thrives, with pupils of all age groups willingly applying their imagination and determination to important causes. The unity and awareness that these events bring are a great asset to Marlborough, and I wish the next Charity Think Tank Group the best of luck in what I know will be a very enjoyable and rewarding year.

Lucy McVeigh (MM U6)