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For the second year, pupils and staff of St John's School in Leatherhead have celebrated a successful St John's School Community Holiday. Volunteers once again welcomed 20 young children aged 10-16 with a range of special needs to the School’s boarding houses for a residential week of fun and adventure.
Taking place between 15 and 22 August, the holiday included day trips to Chessington World of Adventures, High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre and an outing to see Wicked at the West End. Back at St John’s, the children enjoyed a full programme of activities including circus entertainment, discos, arts and crafts, and daily swimming sessions.
St John's pupils, many of whom were returning to the holiday for the second time, led sing-a-long sessions, games and activities and were on hand to provide one-to-one support for every child throughout the day and night.
One priority of the St John’s School Community Holiday was to give parents and carers a week of respite and relaxation. One parent said: “I feel very humble that my daughter was invited, she had an amazing time. It was very well run and I as a parent had every confidence in the staff and pupils running it. As a parent of a disabled child, it allowed me to have a week to think about myself and to be able to relax, so thank you so much.”
Another added: "We stayed close by last year, but this year we went away for the first time in thirteen years thanks to this wonderful holiday."
Pupil volunteer Livvy Copeman (Upper Sixth, Haslewood House), commented: “I took part in the holiday to help make a difference to those who have special needs in terms of giving them a week of independence and a new set of friends. I have so many happy memories from last summer, and am delighted to have taken part again.”
Financial backing for the holiday came from a year of tireless fundraising at the hands of the St John’s pupils, who arranged a variety of events throughout the 2014-15 academic year. Over £6,000 was raised from the incredibly successful ‘Sleep Out on the Quad’, where pupils spent a (somewhat chilly) night in March outside on the School’s quadrangle – without tents!
The School also held a sponsored swim, a quiz evening and numerous bake sales to support the running of the holiday, and pupils are set to continue fundraising for the 2016 adventure.
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