Students and staff at St Wilfrid’s School have raised more than £9,000 for five charities, including Crawley Open House.
The money came from a sponsored Sleep Out, which saw 124 students and 16 staff spend a chilly night in the school courtyard on December 19/20.
Chris Oxlade, of Crawley Open House, gave a talk about homelessness and explained how the money would be used. The other charities to benefit will be Friends of Embark, St Catherine’s Hospice, Children with Cancer and Chestnut Tree House.
At 10.30pm, there was a special treat – Fezza Fest.
Headteacher Michael Ferry had promised the students he would sing for them if they raised enough money. He set them a target of £3,000, which they more than tripled to £9,131.35.
Mr Ferry should not have been surprised by the youngsters’ ability to raise a lot of cash – in April he told them he would run the Brighton Marathon in a green wig if they raised £9,000. You can guess what happened!
Fezza Fest saw the head take to his guitar and sing Fairytale of New York with student Georgia Green.
Then came the serious business. A spokesman said: “At midnight students and staff gathered in the courtyard for a candlelight reflection on what they were about to do and to think about all those that were homeless, finishing off singing Silent Night. Everybody then bedded down for the night.”
Mr Ferry said he was “in awe” of his students, saying he was “so proud to be their headteacher”.
He added: “To get 124 17-18 year olds to commit to such a worthy cause, not only to raise money but to send a clear message that homelessness is wrong and as a society we must do something about it, is just phenomenal.
“A target of £3,000 was set and if achieved I would sing them a song and play the guitar! Give me a marathon any day! I was really nervous but you know what, I wouldn’t have done it for anyone else and when the time came they were wonderful, so supportive.”
Georgia said: “Being a part of such a large event was inspiring. It was an amazing atmosphere and great to see so many of our school community participating to raise money for such a worthy cause.”