Injured airman’s story inspires students to raise charity funds

Year 9 students at Benjamin Britten Music Academy, Hayden Bishop and Emily Sharman, present a cheque

Year 9 students at Benjamin Britten Music Academy, Hayden Bishop and Emily Sharman, present a cheque for £400 to the Spinal Injuries Association. Picture: MICK HOWES - Credit: Archant

A special assembly and a fundraising fair inspired children at a Lowestoft high school.

Students at Benjamin Britten Music Academy were praised this week for their hard work and commitment after helping to raise funds for charity.

Last November, Kevin Ogilvie and Esther Fisher-Cook, from the Spinal Injuries Association, gave an inspirational talk to Year 9 students at the academy in Blyford Road.

And on Wednesday, at the Year 9 weekly assembly, they returned to receive a cheque for £400 on behalf of the school – after the children organised a successful Christmas fair.

Christine Overy, assistant head for Year 9, said: 'Our annual Christmas fair, which was held in December, raised in excess of £1,300 - a real tribute to the hard work and commitment of our Year 9 scholars, parents and carers.'

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Head of the year, Denis Flanagan, praised the children's efforts during assembly. He said: 'You have managed to raise £400 for the Spinal Injuries Association, which is a credit to you guys as a year group, a credit to your families and everyone who came along and supported us on the day.

'Kevin and Esther gave a talk at our assembly in November about the charity they are working with and it really hit home with a number of you. It is important to make sure that everyone in our society is given a fair chance.

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'Kevin was serving in Afghanistan with the RAF, looking out for his country and making sure we are protected, when he suffered a complete spinal cord injury after his vehicle hit an Improvised Explosive Device.'

The children heard how Mr Ogilvie had received treatment, support and rehabilitation in spinal injury units and he has since gone on to become a Peer Support Officer for the Spinal Injuries Association.

Mr Ogilvie, of Lowestoft who was left in a wheelchair permanently after the explosion, said: 'I hope to continue to make a difference in the lives of all those I meet in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

'In November we talked to the children in assembly and went through my story. It was great to give a talk at a school in the town, and it was the first school I had given a presentation to.

'It is important to raise awareness and it was really great that the academy raised such a fantastic amount.'

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