Children in Need - The Cat in the Hat Charity Day

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Probably the most well-known of all charity events in the UK is Children in Need. This is an organisation which provides grants to projects in the UK. It focuses on disadvantaged children and young people who face a range of difficulties. It was developed to empower children and extend their life choices.

Here at MPW we were trying to come up with a way of making a small contribution to this amazing organisation which is currently supporting 2,400 projects all across the UK. Having the chance to become part of a dedicated team of people who are committed to helping children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect was very inspirational. The initiative has raised many millions each year since first airing in 1980. This year’s figure was £50,168,562 which is the largest amount made in a single event.

So, we decided to do our bit to help such a fantastic cause! The first obstacle was to come up with an idea or theme that would encourage people to donate money. As usual in the GCSE group there were many ideas, varying in degrees of absurdity from throwing pies at Chris Young (Head of GCSE), not coming into college, Hunger Game style fights to wearing yellow items of clothing. In the end, we decided that people should wear hats in college for the day and pay for the privilege. For some, who need constantly reminding that this is against college rules, it would be an easy win and ‘a nice little earner’.

Great, we had the idea, now for a theme to grab attention. It may not be one of the approved texts for GCSE but Dr Seuss came straight to mind and ‘The Cat in The Hat Day’ was born. The story centres on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who wears a red and white striped hat and a red bow tie. Home is where the Cat is, and this home will never be the same after a visit from Seuss's infamous feline. The Cat in the Hat is a fun book, no doubt, but thinking about the concept of home brings up some pretty serious stuff. How should kids act when their parents are away? How can children recover or heal? We thought that the story, the interesting symbolism and obvious excitement behind it were a good match to our cause.

Immediately, AJ took control of advertising the event and by Thursday, we had hand-made posters all around college. The fact that AJ is a great artist definitely helped our cause. It took her next to no time to make several handcrafted posters, which soon decorated doors and notice boards around the college. The posters were very beautifully made; they were colourful and attracted the right attention.

The morning of Children in Need day began as any normal day. At registration, Chris was his normal witty self, sharing goodwill throughout, Oliver was still half-asleep, and everyone had made it in on time (thank you British Railways!). Hats were in abundance from LA Raider bobble hats and NY Yankee baseball caps to designer caps and those heads without such sartorial elegance sporting natty spotty kitchenmade elasticated numbers. As a 6’ 5” sportsman, this definitely set the mood for embarrassment; I will never forget my hat again. At least this was slightly less embarrassing than the oversized polka dot bow that Letitia had to wear. Off to a good start, we then had the sight of Tabitha and AJ in Pudsey Bear onesies rattling collection tins and invading lessons throughout college demanding money with menaces. Sorry, that should read asking kindly for donations! Some teachers in Biology even had the pleasure of being visited more than once. It was also good to see the Senior Management Team enter into the spirit of the day with a range of headwear. We witnessed a pair of Napoleonic Shakoes from the early nineteenth century modelled by David Shah and a very dodgy beanie worn by Markus Bernhardt, reminiscent of a bad guy in a cheap action movie.

Overall, the whole day went really well. Everyone was very happy to have contributed. AJ and Tabitha were keen to collect the money and promote cheer to the college. During registration on Monday morning, Chris announced that we had managed to collect £136, which we contributed to Children in Need. This academic year, we will also be supporting Ditch the Label and Cancer Research so watch this space!

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