Uganda Takes Centre Stage at School Celebrations

Back in August we posted about the summer fundraisers for Ruddington’s Mustard Seed Project and about their role in helping James Peacock School celebrate the 50th anniversary of its move to Manor Park. Now those involved can reflect on all that’s been achieved!

Tisai School

The project’s Charlene Robinson writes: “Following on from the fashion show that we held earlier this year which enabled us to begin to build a primary school in Teso, Uganda, we’ve had an amazing summer of fundraising at the Mustard Seed Project.

In August Julie Allen and Ruddy bear leapt from a plane to raise £630 and the Robin Hood Marathon saw 12 runners of all ages and abilities test themselves against the 2k, half and full marathon to raise £2700 – both amazing achievements.

Then came the opportunity to host James Peacock School’s 50th birthday celebration. The school is at the centre of the Ruddington community and we knew that many adults remembered attending as children. On the 30th September, despite the forecast of heavy rain, the sun shone for most of the afternoon and party guests were treated to a full afternoon of entertainment including singing and dancing from K2, Freedom, Ruddington Belly and the local choir. Ruddy Bear demonstrated parachute jumps from the school roof, guests admired the view of the school from the top deck of a heritage bus from GCRN (top photo) and children made badges, wore tattoos and got their faces painted. Mandy Baker made a gorgeous looking (and tasting) cake, The Split Screen Coffee Co were on hand for a caffeine fix, and the cava was flowing.”

The Pebble River

The ‘Mustard Seed River’ was opened by one of the current school governors – Barbara Breakwell – who said: “These individual pebbles painted by this community and made into this river of pebbles symbolises our united commitment to help each other wherever we are.”

Sally Squires and the entire Mustard Seed team were on hand to sell tea & cake, greet guests and hand out party bags, balloons & bubbles. Teachers from the school danced round a maypole and Barbara Breakwell, along with the Local History Society, researched the history of the school and set about finding ex-pupils and staff to celebrate with them. Current pupils manned an enterprise stall to sell items they had made themselves to raise money.

The project’s co-founder, Sally Squires, admits she was “overwhelmed by the support & hard work of The Mustard Seed group, the James Peacock Staff and community. It was wonderful to see present and ex pupils having fun, reminiscing and supporting the school… I can’t believe how many people turned up and supported this special event. It’s lovely that we have thought of others on our birthday and raised enough money to complete a school in a place where children desperately needed one.”

The day was heralded a great success with the team raising an impressive £4,055 – enough not only to finish building the school but also fund equipment and continue to provide food for the children. The Education Co-ordinator for the Teso region of Uganda, Rev Charles Okunya Oode said: “You do the impossible. A school in a place that had never seen one… this is like giving life to the lifeless”.

Charlene adds: “A huge thankyou to everyone who helped us to achieve this, not least the current pupils of James Peacock who ended the party with some beautiful singing as balloons were released over the school.”

The balloon launch

Here’s to their next fifty years!

{JPS photos by Dan Cartwright.}

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