Mid November brings with it the promise of colder weather and the inevitable frantic Christmas shopping for loved ones … but it is also a time to turn our thoughts to others. For over a decade, Townley Grammar School has celebrated “Children In Need” day with the sixth-form and staff in fancy dress and everyone is encouraged to donate to help those less fortunate, a particularly poignant message as we approach Christmas.

With costumes including Barbies, a giant shark, a group of ghostbusters (and ghosts!) and many many more, it’s easy to see that everyone loves to get on board, and for the past few years Townley has raised over £600 every year across the school - this time the target is even higher.

But it isn’t just about the dressing up. First launched as a radio appeal in 1927, BBC’s Children in Need has continued in various forms ever since, including the Rickshaw challenge first launched twelve years ago. The money raised in the 38 years since the modern appeal was launched reached the staggering figure of £1 billion in 2018, all of which goes into grants for UK charities. Children In Need now supports over 2,400 small charities, which help disadvantaged children and young people with a range of issues such as poverty, disability and poor mental health. The donations raised by the November SPOTacular appeal, as well as other events throughout the year, go towards funding charitable organisations across the UK, all of which have the constant aim of helping every child to have the childhood they deserve.

I asked Ahmed Moustafa, the Learning Manager for the lower sixth at Townley, why he felt supporting Children In Need was important, and he said, “I think there is something about civic responsibility, seeing yourself as an agent in your society - it's not just a single day event. That’s why it’s important that we have these moments to reaffirm our commitment and our idea of helping those who need help. We have built the culture of giving to charity as part of how we operate and how we act consistently.” I believe Mr Moustafa’s words really encapsulate the feeling towards charity within Townley, and in the midst of a cost of living crisis it is arguably even more important that we support those who need it whenever we are able to.

It will be a week or two before we know if we have achieved our £600 target, but based on the sheer number of different characters wandering around the corridors today, all of whom were showing their support for the cause, it appears that Townley will well and truly smash it.