Horsham was ransacked by a horde of escaped students from Steyning Grammar School - but there’s no need to panic, it was all for charity.
Almost 200 Year 13 students, dressed as animals, horses, Santa’s little helpers and Mexicans, ‘absconded’ from the school grounds on Friday December 6 to towns and villages across Sussex, including Horsham, Storrington and Brighton.
The getaway was made possible by large tractors and trailers, scaffolding lorries, buses, pick-up trucks, bicycles and space hoppers that made there way in convoy up Steyning High Street.
The great escape was orchestrated by students and teachers and raised £4,600 for Cancer Research UK.
Arriving at Sainsbury’s in Horsham around midday, a group of escapees continued into the town centre and asked people to donate.
Natasha White, 17, said: “We got locked in the science labs but escaped through the windows and are parading around the county getting as much as we can.
“I am loving all the reactions, from the little kids especially. I think we are putting a smile on people’s faces.”
This annual fundraising event started with a hearty breakfast donated by a local catering company ‘3663’, with the £1.50 charge for breakfast making a great start to the fundraising activities.
The Sixth Form student ‘convicts’ were locked in the jails while surrounded by a crowd of year 10, 11 and 12 students. The convicts broke out just before 9am to the cheer of the awaiting student crowd.
As well as Horsham, the bandits also targeted Brighton, Portslade, Hove, Southwick, Lancing, Storrington, Burgess Hill, Crawley, Hobbycraft & Roundstone Garden Centre in Ferring, Next in Holmbush, Wilkinson’s Store in Worthing, Sainsbury’s at Lyons Farm Worthing, Next and Dunelm Mill at Shoreham, Tooveys Auction House, Steyning Primary School, Upper Beeding Primary School, Jolesfield in Partridge Green and Rydon Intermediate.
Musicians, The High Trees and Hollow Men, along with a group of A2 level Music students, were playing in the bandstand as the convicts were rounded up by their jailors, until all 200 were finally recaptured.
Assistant headteacher Sally Randall said how proud the staff, governors and parents were of the Year 13 students who had been tremendous ambassadors for their chosen charity and the sixth form college.
Mrs Randall said: “Our students have shown initiative, commitment and determination in making a positive difference to others through fundraising and they have learned so much from this experience.”
Mrs McDonald-Bowyer, KS5 Learning Leader, said: “Each year the students continue to impress us with their enthusiasm and endeavour.”
Jessica Blake of Cancer Research UK supervised the money count back at the school where she thanked the students for their participation and enthusiasm in helping others.
Mrs Blake said: “I am so impressed by the organisation and hard work that has gone into this event, it’s so fantastic to see such enthusiasm from both students and staff.
“Thank you so much to the team behind this great fundraising effort.
“Monies raised will be used to fund ongoing research projects.
“Last year we spent more than £1million on research at the local centre in Brighton where scientists look to find ways to overcome resistance to treatments, giving many more people a better chance of beating the disease.
“This money will be used to continue this invaluable work.”
The school and students would like to thank Horsham District Council for allowing them to host the event in the town and for their assistance with arrangements for parking fundraisers vehicles, and C&L coaches which donated the use of a coach for the event.
They are particularly grateful for the support of the Sussex Police in assisting with the ‘recapture’ of the convicts in Horsham.
To contribute visit: ‘Just Giving Page’. http://www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Mc-Donald-Bowyer.