A Gordon's education strives to be one where students not only work hard for themselves but for others. Students are encouraged to contribute to others inside and outside the school, whether in leadership roles, volunteering or service. This culminates in the Sixth Form with all students expected to be active members of the school community and to give back.
Students and staff regularly contribute to charities in the UK and overseas. Here are some of the charities Gordon's has supported over the last two terms:
Gordon's has one whole school charity and three further charities chosen annually by students and staff. The whole school charity is the Camelthorn Foundation which is raising money to build a girls' boarding house (to be known as Gordon's House) at the Ngamo School, Zimbabwe. In addition, CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) and the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, which supports NHS workers will benefit from charitable giving this year.
Whole School Charity - The Camelthorn Foundation
BUILDING A GIRLS' BOARDING HOUSE IN ZIMbabwe
A major three year charity initiative was launched at Gordon’s in January 2022, linking the school with the Camelthorn Foundation, a UK-based charity which supports global community and conservation projects including one based in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa.
The conservation charity helps communities mitigate damage by wildlife; prevents illegal use of wildlife; promotes community-based wildlife initiatives and education and socio-economic opportunities.
Gordon’s has a particular interest in supporting the education arm of the Camelthorn Foundation and the Ngamo Secondary School in Ngamo village, close to the world famous Hwange National Park.
The school educates around 147 students from 13 years old to 16 years old from a 50k radius.
With no public transport, the children must walk at least seven to ten kilometres every day to school with some children living as far away as 20 kilometres. Their journey to school is arduous, and involves walking through thick Kalahari sand with the risk of encountering lion or elephant on the way. So those living further afield - nine girls and six boys - are weekly boarding at school.
Boarders are expected to bring their weekly evening meals when they come to school on Monday mornings. They sleep in rudimentary facilities, which at present is on the floor of a teacher’s accommodation. They must cook their own evening meals and wash their clothes. While the school has some access to water, it does not have electricity or solar power. The image (left) shows the facilities for the boarders now.
Gordon’s has committed to changing that and through fundraising, providing the money for a purpose built boarding house (below) as part of a longer term project to encourage children, particularly girls, to continue with their education.
The initiative ties in with the School’s ethos of being a symbol of what can be achieved by a community united in making an outstanding contribution for the good of global society.
Camelthorn Foundation Trustee James Koch spoke to all year groups at Gordon’s to launch the campaign.
Further information on the initiative is available here.
How the school fundraises:
Coronation Colour Run
24 HOUR GARYOKE
Students and staff sang their way through a whole 24 hours of Karoake to end the Spring Term on a high note and raise money for the school’s charity, the Camelthorn Foundation.
The event, masterminded by Head of House Gary Knight took the form of a Garyoke, raising over a thousand pounds for the charity and for the building of Gordon’s House.
Prior to the event, a teacher from the Ngamo School revealed that work would soon be starting on the building of Gordon's House and sent this message to all those taking part in the Garyoke:
The main school hall, the Rec, was rocked to its core, beginning with students paying to see their teachers take the microphone and sing to their favourite songs.
Then it was the turn of the students, who supported Mr Knight throughout, boarders setting alarms to wake up during the night for half hourly slots to add their voices to the mammoth fundraising attempt.
Popular songs included the rugby anthem Sweet Caroline, Let it Go from Frozen and Backstreet Boys I Want it That Way, but also featured were The Hills are Alive from the Sound of Music and for the School Chaplain, the Reverend Graham Wright, Bon Jovi’s hit Livin’ on a Prayer!
Loud, colourful and energetic, everyone gave their all, whatever the time of day (or night!).
Afterwards, Mr Knight said: “Every performance from the students and staff was joyous and packed with enthusiasm, meaning every rendition was unique (even if they were heard many times). When planning the event, my aim was to unite the school and get as many students and staff singing throughout the 24 hours, as well as raising a substantial amount of money for the Camelthorn Foundation. The 24 hour target seemed ambitious, however the time whizzed by due to the energy produced by the students, which helped to sustain me during the wee small hours”.
Here are some of the highlights:
PILGRIMAGE TO ROME
Two former Sixth Form students, Daniel Drakeford (left) and Isaac Johnson (centre), who embarked on the challenge of the Via Francigena a 1,900km pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome, raising money for the girls' boarding house as they went.
While a combination of heatstroke and heart-related problems ended the pilgrimage before reaching Rome, the pair achieved between 475 and 500 miles (around the same distance of Gordon's to Aviemore, Scotland!). In doing so, raised £960 for The Camelthorn Foundation.
Isaac commented afterwards: "We have vowed to return in the future and complete the journey and have both agreed not to visit Rome until we have walked there, so that we may have earned it. I think that we were proud of how far we had come while still being disappointed at not being able to complete the whole journey."