Last Friday we held our first fundraising day of the term for “Operation Orphan”. This is a charity that was very close to the heart of our much loved deputy head, Helen Griffith who died earlier this term and it is the charity that we are supporting over the course of the year in Helen’s memory.

Two days after Helen’s death, Evie Norris in Year 5 came to see me with a list of fundraising activities that she wanted to organise in Helen’s memory. To say that these were wide-ranging would have been an understatement, as they covered pretty much every sponsored activity that a child could do, and then some!

However, we sat down and discussed which one we should start with and initially Evie wanted us all to do a mud run! Following a lengthy discussion we agreed that this might not appeal to everyone and we settled on a dog show, which very quickly became a pet show.

The logical date to hold this was Friday 15th November – Children in Need Day. If orphans don’t classify as children in need I don’t know who does, and we opened it up to the whole school. I had no idea at all how things would pan out. We have never done anything quite like this before at DCPS and indeed, I’d not seen it done in any other schools that I’d worked in either. It could have been absolute chaos, but it ended up being a wonderful event.

We had 29 dogs, two mice, some beetles, a tank of mealworms and a chicken, so no one could question the variety or range of animals on display. Various categories were competed for, with first, second and third placed certificates up for grabs.

While there was a great deal of excitement, particularly from the dogs (and some of their owners!), the show passed without accident or incident, it was tremendous fun, there was a great deal of laughter and we raised £325 for a wonderful cause.

It was lovely to welcome back Verity Ball and her mother, Claire as our judges (with some help from Evie). Their family runs Leafields Dog Retreat, so they have a tremendous understanding of animals and put their expertise to the test when judging which pet was the fluffiest, or looked most like their owner! These were just two of a number of different categories and the whole show took about an hour to complete.

It was a great start to the weekend, Evie must be congratulated for having such a great idea and putting it into practice and I must also thank Helen Heron who put in a great deal of work in terms of getting all of the entries registered and ensuring that everything ran smoothly on the day. It was a team effort and we are already planning the next event!

www.operation-orphan.org