Blaydon school races to take top three places in contest

27 June 2014

Team Phoenix from St Thomas More School

Pupils from St Thomas More Catholic School in Blaydon have proved that they are way ahead of the rest of the field when it comes to making money.

This year's Alan Shearer Foundation's Young Social Entrepreneur competition saw three teams from the school come first, second and third and raise between them a staggering £17,000 for the charity – just short of the sum which was returned by all the entrants' totals combined in the 2013 contest!

And, after four years of the competition, St Thomas More is still the only name on the winner's trophy having gained first prize through successive sixth form teams every year so far.

John Davis, the school's Director of Sixth Form, received his own award from the Foundation for guiding pupils at the school to raise almost £37,000 for the charity since the annual contest began. The physics teacher denied that he had any entrepreneurial skills himself but said of the runaway victories: "Fundraising is a big thing in the school and the pupils are already motivated to do well. They are driven and have some incredible ideas, skills and contacts."

Mr Davis added: "They have done everything themselves and still manage to have a great schoolwork balance. I only get involved when the teams upset each other!"

Other notable teams, who were left in the Blaydon school's fundraising wake, were St Anthony's Girls' and St Aidan's Catholic Academies in Sunderland, St Benet Biscop Catholic High, Bedlington, and St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive, Peterlee, who together donated over £8,000 to the charity.

The Foundation's annual Young Social Entrepreneur contest offers teams of pupils £250 seed money at the beginning of the school term to enable them to develop income-generating projects which this year included film nights, quizzes, tuck shops, sponsored stunts and pamper evenings.

Representatives from the schools who took part were asked to a special event at the Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle today (Friday 27 June) to receive prizes from Sheila Errington, St Cuthberts Care's Director of Children's Services, and to see how their donated funds are used to maintain the free facilities at Centre and to help the charity to develop further services in the region for disabled children and adults.

The Foundation's Nicola Milne said: "This year we have invited the students to meet with some of the people with disabilities who benefit from their fundraising efforts and to thank all the schools and their supporters for their contributions which together this year raised over £25,000 for the charity."

Nicola added: "We look forward to starting the competition again in September to see if anyone can take on the challenge and beat St Thomas More school's winning streak!"

Visit the Foundation's photo gallery for more pictures of the day.