Tonbridge School’s annual Pink Day, an event held to remember and support those affected by cancer, was bigger and bolder than ever despite the restrictions placed by the current pandemic.
Boys and staff wore pink items on Friday 16 October, and some dressed in wigs and fun costumes, to raise much-needed donations for charity.
Large areas of the School were dressed with pink decorations, including the stone boars heads on the main school gates, which sported pink bow ties, hats and feather boas.
Once dusk fell several School buildings, including the Barton Science Centre and the Chapel, were illuminated in an amazing light show which featured a projection of the breast cancer ribbon. Many passers-by stopped to take photographs or to clap in appreciation.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the focus of Pink Day, and this year the School has raised more than £5,400 to support the vital work of Breast Cancer Kent.
The School also uses its annual Pink Day to inform boys about cancer treatments and recovery, the toll this takes on families and the vital role played by the NHS and cancer charities.
A series of talks took place throughout the week. Speakers included Mrs Richie Chalmers, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and Breast Cancer Kent Trustee, who spoke to Year 9 boys about her life as a surgeon, the amazing advancements made in breast cancer surgery, and the vital role Breast Cancer Kent plays in ensuring that local treatment is as good as anywhere in the country.
Year 10 boys heard from Dr Russell Burcombe, Consultant Clinical Oncologist based in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone, who focused on how survival rates for patients with breast cancer have improved, and explained the role of sophisticated technology in advancing those survival rates.
Importantly, the boys learned that men can also get breast cancer: one in every 100 breast cancer cases in the UK affects males. Boys were reminded of the need to check their own bodies regularly and seek medical advice if they notice anything has changed.
Sixth Formers heard from three of their peers, who spoke movingly about their own journeys with cancer. Oli talked about his childhood battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia; Henry then spoke with courage about his mother’s current battle with breast cancer, and the toll it has taken on their family.
Ollie spoke about how he was raising funds to support the charity researching treatment for his mother’s cancer, explaining that he had recently completed the ‘Brutal triathlon” challenge in Snowdonia. He encouraged all students to “get out there and do it” if they are interested in setting a personal challenge to support charities.
Juliet Burnett, the School’s Community Action Manager, said: “We were delighted to raise such a fantastic sum to support Breast Cancer Kent. Charities need our support more than ever in these difficult times”.
Helen Teare, a volunteer for Breast Cancer Kent and also a parent at the School, added: “Breast Cancer Kent is overwhelmed by the support given by Tonbridge this year. On a grey, cloudy day, the boys and buildings were an absolute vision in pink! All the money raised will go directly to help local patients who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.”
As Oli put it in his talk: “I encourage you all to be supportive to anyone who is going through any situation with cancer and to be sure to donate. It really makes a difference to anyone going through some of the worst times of their lives.”
Donations can still be made.
* Thanks to Jason Sonance of www.hr-illumination.co.uk for lighting the School.
- Social Responsibility