A group of Year 12 students from Wallace High School have witnessed firsthand the work of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children in Newscastle after being invited in memory of a former classmate.
The students visited Daisy Lodge, a £3m flagship project aims to be a world-class unique institution boasting five-star facilities for young people suffering from cancer and their families.
For the Wallace students the visit was bitter-sweet. They had been invited to the event in recognition of the passion they have shown for the charity’s work following the death of their former classmate Briagh Hull in 2011. Briagh’s memory is honoured at the school after a screen located outside the counselling room was officially dedicated last year.
Donning the obligatory hard hats and high visibility jackets, the students enjoyed the privilege of a tour around Daisy Lodge conducted by the charity’s Chief Executive Mrs Gillian Creevy. The Wallace students also enjoyed a tour through Narnia, the log cabin modelled on a ski lodge design, which was designed to address teenagers’ desire for privacy.
Students listened attentively as Gillian outlined the wide range of respite provision which will be on offer to young people and their families. The accommodation will offer privacy and outstanding scenic beauty as the building has been designed to maximize sunlight and to provide panoramic views. Facilities on site will include a cinema room, a nail bar and four therapy rooms for treatments such as massage and reflexology.
The large balcony provided a scenic location for a workshop on rhythm conducted by Joe of The Gathering Drum. At least one GCSE Music student was a touch embarrassed by their apparent inability to keep with the beat Joe had selected!
Schools’ worker Ruth Hobson enthralled the students with her tales of residential weekends and outdoor pursuit activities for the teenagers who are clearly not wrapped in cotton wool!
Wallace has a long association with the fund and is the most successful of its fundraising schools in Northern Ireland. The Read On event, which will be held just before half-term, will be the school’s 14th Read On and the goal is to cross the £100,000 threshold.
Teacher Gareth Kidd, who accompanied the members of his class on the visit, said “I was totally stunned by the building project. The location is superb and the vision of the charity quite overwhelming. It was an inspiration to hear Gillian talk about the facilities and the programmes on offer and it really showed our students how valuable all their efforts have been.”
Meanwhile, Year 12 students hope to run one of their legendary bun sales and one of their number, Clare Hanna, will be completing an abseil for the fund in the very near future.