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Boys share personal experiences as Pink Day raises £5,000 for charity

Tonbridge’s annual Pink Day was bolder and brighter than ever as boys and staff dressed in pink to raise awareness of all forms of cancer.

The event, which took place on Friday 15 October, raised more than £5,000 for the charities Breast Cancer Kent and Breast Cancer Now.

The main School entrance was decorated with huge pink ribbons and the front of the Cawthorne Lecture Theatre sported an enormous bow. As boys arrived for the start of the day, the site was filled with a spectacular array of costumes, and morning Chapel became a sea of pink. 

The Chapel and the Front of School were illuminated in pink light late into the night, prompting many compliments from people as they passed by. 

Saturday Chapel, before Pink Day, gave several Tonbridge boys an opportunity to share their own personal experiences of cancer in their families.

Isaac Willats (WW5) spoke bravely, and yet with humour, about his own journey as a young child diagnosed with late-stage neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the nervous system. All were moved by Isaac’s honesty as he talked about his treatment and the long-term conditions he has learnt to live with.  

Isaac said: “Every time I go into the hospital, I am asked the same question: how has your treatment affected you? The honest answer is, it hasn’t. I don’t know what it is like to live with a perfectly functioning body and, frankly, I don’t think I want to. I am happy to exist, comfortable with who I am, and I truly feel pain for anyone who has known what it’s like to be healthy and have that taken away from them.”

Olly Teare (OH5) shared the story of his family’s challenging year as they faced his mother’s second diagnosis with cancer. Olly added: “It has been a huge learning experience for me. I now have a much greater appreciation for the doctors, as well as for my mum, and I even know now how to work a washing machine.”

As Joe Baldwin (HS5), Deputy Head of School, told boys in Chapel: “By wearing a costume, and donating your money, you are showing your support for anyone who is currently going through the challenges of any cancer in their family. And if that’s you and your family, then know everyone is supporting you.”

Juliet Burnett, the School’s Community Action Manager, said: “Pink Day is a firm fixture in the school calendar and, sadly, we are never short of boys or staff to speak about their personal experiences with cancer. Perhaps, if research is funded well enough, we will see a day when there are no more personal stories to be heard, but until that time we will keep fundraising and supporting families.”

The other charity to benefit was Tonbridge-based RefugEase, which ran a second-hand clothing stall ahead of the event. Their sale raised nearly £180 and saw boys picking up some fantastic costumes.

Tonbridge’s Pink Day took place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


  • Social Responsibility