School News and Head's Blog
Posted on: 28/09/2018
Weekly News - Friday 28th SeptemberOur first Month End Music Recital of the academic year this afternoon was very well attended, and saw some super performances from the pupils on flute, violin, trumpet, saxophone and piano. It is always so impressive to see children so young performing in public with confidence and great skill, and such a pleasure to see the results of their hard work. Bravo to all those who played!
Thank you to all those parents who attended the E-safety talk on Tuesday night; we had a full house and it was encouraging to see how home and school are working together to support the children. Paul Hay, our visiting E-safety specialist, told us that he thoroughly enjoyed the day and that the pupils were a credit to parents and staff. He was delighted that the evening talk was so well-attended.
You are welcome to visit Paul's page and email him directly if you do have any queries relating to E-Safety.
Eco Schools Silver Award
Following on from our Bronze Award, the Eco Team (together with the whole school community) have now achieved the Eco Schools accreditation of the silver award!
We will now strive to achieve the even more prestigious ‘green flag’ award with the help of everyone. Please continue to promote ways to live in a more eco friendly fashion: ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, repair’.
Our Harvest Festival celebrations will take place over the next two weeks.
Upper School (children in Years 2-6) will attend the Harvest Festival service at All Saints Church on Tuesday next week. All children should be in full, correct school uniform on this day. If they have PE/Games on a Tuesday, they should bring in their PE/Games kits to change into.
Lower School (children in Nursery to Year 1) will celebrate Harvest the week after with their Harvest assemblies.
As is traditional, we would ask parents to send your child in with a Harvest donation. The most suitable donations are tinned, canned or dry packet goods such as tinned fruit, vegetables, meat or fish; dried pasta, rice, pulses or grains, packets of cereal and porridge or packets of sweet treats such as biscuits. Please check the sell by date and send goods with as long a shelf life as possible. All donations will be going to the Salvation Army, who will distribute to those in need in Hillingdon. Many thanks to you all, in advance, for your generosity.
Breast Cancer Awareness
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Mr. and Mrs. Cheema, parents of Amar (Y6) will be taking part in the Breast Cancer Now campaign in collaboration with Marks and Spencer. During the month of October, 20% of all purchases made from the ‘Pink Collection’ will be donated to Breast Cancer Now to fund vital research to ensure that by 2050, any woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer will survive. Please do visit your local M&S in store or online to support this cause.
Mrs. Cheema has written a guest Head's Blog this week. You can read it here.
Cancer Research Relay For Life
We are delighted to announce that the total raised by the St. Helen's College team for this year's Cancer Research Relay for Life now stands at just over £4000. Many thanks to you all, once again, for your generosity. You can get a feel for the day itself through this short video clip of the team:
We are delighted to welcome Mrs. Fiona Bool to St. Helen’s College as our new Finance Manager. Some of the children have already met Mrs. Bool in assembly and I am sure she will soon get to know our school community.
Mrs. Dennington is working alongside Mrs. Bool over the next week to ensure a good transition and I would like to thank Mrs. Dennington for all her hard work and dedication to St. Helen’s College over the past 17 years.
Half Term Holiday Club - Bookings Now Open On SchoolsBuddy
Bookings are now open for Holiday Club which will be running throughout the half term, with optional Breakfast Club each day. We will be using SchoolsBuddy to take bookings. When you log in to your SchoolsBuddy account, go to the Bookings tab and book the sessions you require. A day session runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and this includes lunch and afternoon tea, which is served at 3.30 p.m. The optional Breakfast Club sessions run from 7.30 a.m.
Please note that you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some sessions using card, and for some sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help.
School Bus and Breakfast Club Bookings Now Open Via SchoolsBuddy
Bookings for the morning bus service and Breakfast Club for the second half of term are now live on SchoolsBuddy. Please note that, even if you have been a regular user of these services before, you must now book and pay online on SchoolsBuddy to secure your places going forward.
When you log in to your SchoolsBuddy account, go to the Bookings tab and book the services/sessions you require.
For Breakfast Club, you may pay by card or select 'voucher payment' which tells us that you are paying by Childcare Voucher or Tax Free Childcare Account. If you would like to pay for some Breakfast Club sessions using card, and for some Breakfast Club sessions using voucher payment, then you will need to make separate bookings for these - for example, book Monday/Tuesday sessions and pay by card, then book Wednesday/Thursday/Friday sessions and pay by childcare voucher. We hope that you will find the new online and payment system easy to use but if you experience any difficulties, please do contact the school office who will be pleased to help.
Childcare Vouchers/Tax Free Childcare Account payments may not be used for School Bus bookings, since by its nature this extended care does not happen on the school premises.
After School Club bookings will be set up on SchoolsBuddy in due course.
Piano Vacancy - Upper School
We have an unexpected vacancy for a child (Y2-6) to learn piano at 12 noon on Saturdays. Please email Mrs. Allery if you are interested in this; the place will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. email@example.com
The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House
If you are considering a family outing for Christmas, you might be interested in seeing The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House.
Posted on: 28/09/2018
Head's Blog - Breast Cancer Awareness by Mrs. CheemaThey say everyone knows someone who has had Cancer. When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013, at the age of 36...I didn’t.
I was chair of the Parents’ Association at the time and very much involved in the school community. We had just had the St. Helen’s College Family Bollywood evening. It was a fantastic night, all singing and dancing with great food. We even had Mr. Crehan changing the Bhangra lightbulbs on the dance floor! We came home elated with the success of the evening. That very night as I flopped into bed, exhausted with the excitement and preparation that comes with any school event, I felt a hard lump in my right breast.
As the news broke and the days unfolded, my world turned upside down. As a family, we were being taken down a road that was very unfamiliar to us. Eight months of treatment followed, to include 6 sessions of chemotherapy, 15 sessions of radiotherapy and surgery and a whole summer snatched away from us. Our children Suraj and Amar, just 8 and 5 at the time, had to watch and wait as mummy got sick and then a little better and then sick again as the chemotherapy did its job every three weeks to shrink my tumour and catch any stray cancer cells that may have travelled around my body.
People often ask how we coped? Well, I believe it has a lot to do with a positive mental attitude. Accepting a situation that is out of your control is the first step. No amount of worrying will change any situation. Each day when I wake up, I have a choice, to live that day as best I can or to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself. Some days, the latter choice was my only option when my body needed its rest. I am very aware every single day how precious our lives are and how they can be snatched away in a split second, so I choose to enjoy each and every day and make it special.
How do the children cope? I think children are very resilient, a breath of fresh air actually. The innocence of a child can get you through any situation. Children look at the here and now. They don’t hold on to the fear, don’t worry about the future and can move on quite quickly with a play date or a family movie night on the sofa with a big bowl of popcorn! Keeping things as normal as possible, even through the toughest of days, is how we got through it.
So here we are, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year is a particularly exciting one for our family. Gurveer and I are working with one of the largest Breast Cancer charities, Breast Cancer Now, in collaboration with Marks and Spencer to raise vital funds for research into Breast Cancer so that by 2050, anyone diagnosed will survive. To take one of the most challenging parts of our lives and turn it into something positive to raise awareness and help towards a common goal is a fantastic opportunity for us.
M&S have pledged to raise 13 million pounds over this 5 year campaign and together we can reach this goal even faster. I am asking everyone to visit your local M&S store during the month of October. 20% of any purchases made from the Breast Cancer collection will be donated to Breast Cancer Now to fund this vital research. I believe that if we can break the backbone of Breast Cancer, we will be one step closer to finding better treatment for all other cancers.
Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women, and early detection is the key. I never thought this would happen to me but it did. Then my mum and my sister were also diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We are all ok now, because we were so aware and detected these changes early. Look, touch, feel, know your breasts and be aware of any changes, no matter how slight. This should be done every 3-4 weeks. If any change at all is seen, visit your GP and demand a mammogram is done. I cannot shout this message any louder and I will continue to do so. Speak to the women in your family and spread awareness amongst your friends, and speak to your elders as cancer does not exclude anyone. This is not something any woman can ignore. Be breast aware, it could save someone’s life.
Posted on: 21/09/2018
Weekly News - Friday 21st SeptemberWhat an incredible STEAM Day today has been! From building human structures to visiting the Ideas Bus and seeing a 3D printer in action, to making origami boxes, learning about acids and alkalis, carrying out practical experiments, building newspaper towers and so much more, children across the school have today taken part in numerous hands-on activities themed around Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Maths.
There has been a real buzz around school, with conversations about learning taking place at every turn. We are sure that today has proved that if learning is enjoyable and engaging, pupils remember more of it. Thank you so much to all of the parents who willingly gave time and energy to support staff in delivering workshops.
Do question your children at home tonight and over the weekend so that they may share their learning with you!
Budding young engineers might be interested in this event at the London Transport Museum:
Follow this link: https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/year-of-engineering/future-engineers
Year 6 Netball v. Langley Hall
This week we had our first netball matches of the season and our Year 6 girls travelled to Langley Hall School to take part in a friendly pre-season A and B team match. The A team showed they were in sharp form, winning 9 - 3, and after a nervous 1st half the B team raised their performance but lost 7 - 3. Well done to all the girls, who are now looking forward to our first home match next Thursday against St. Bernadette's in the local league.
Reception Coffee Mornings
It has been lovely to see so many parents attend the Owls and Kingfishers coffee mornings over the last two weeks and to hear how well their children are enjoying their new environment and the step up to Reception class. We look forward to seeing other parents at the forthcoming coffee mornings.
Year 4 Greek Workshops
On Monday, members of Freshwater Theatre Company provided our Year 4 children with an insight into the lives of the Ancient Greeks as an introduction to their history topic, with an Ancient Greek adventure show. Our pupils had to solve Greek-related activities to help a time traveller graduate from time travel school. The newly qualified Time Traveller wanted to get a slot presenting on ‘Time Travel TV’. Singing the Ancient Greek legacy rap, recreating an original Olympic Games and learning more about Greek philosophy, the children helped the Time Traveller to make their very own show reel.
In their second workshop, children heard from an Ancient Greek citizen who had hurtled through time to the modern day. Children learnt about everyday life in Ancient Greece and were involved in bringing scenes to life using drama.
This was a really exciting start to a new history topic and the children all had great fun learning in such a practical way!
Year 4/5 Meet the Teacher Evenings
Thank you so much to all of the parents who attended last night's Meet The Teacher evening. I am sure that everyone found it informative and helpful as we look forward to a busy and exciting year ahead for the children. Please remember if you do have any questions or queries, to contact your form teacher or subject teacher.
PA Class Reps
As the new year gets underway, we would love to hear from any parent who would like to serve as a class rep for any of the following classes:
Please contact Mrs. Clements at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved.
Children in Need
The BBC's Children in Need appeal are currently looking for children aged 7-13 to take part in various VT specials this year. The VTs will feature on the big Children in Need appeal night on 16th November 2018.
No previous acting or performance experience is needed – just lots of enthusiasm! The application form is attached here.
Posted on: 21/09/2018
Head's Blog - Being At Home With Your School
I have been interested to read in the media this week two very similar articles about choosing the right school for your child and what to look out for at an Open Day (links below). The BBC article is very much focused on senior school transfer whilst the lifestyle magazine article focuses on the independent sector and choosing a good Preparatory School.
The analogy one article used was comparing choosing a school to buying a house. It needs to be a good fit for you and your family and you will definitely have a ‘gut’ feeling about the school. Of course like choosing a home, with a school there are many other factors to be considered but I do not intend to go into too much detail in this blog; you can read both the articles for yourself.
I am sure that St. Helen's College parents know that you have made the right choice for your children, having chosen St. Helen’s College very carefully knowing that our values and ethos are matched with your own family values. We do not hold open days where the activities are ‘contrived’ and only showcase certain elements of the school. We do not hand pick our tour guides - rather, all our Year 6 pupils are our ambassadors and tour visitors, and they are certainly our best marketeers! We have prospective parents tour the school all year round, not just on Open Morning, since we believe it is important that they see, hear and feel the heartbeat of St. Helen’s College.
The support that you give your children at home in their learning and development complements all that the staff at school are doing on a daily basis both in the classroom and around the school community. Our staff are being the best role models to your children all day long; the learning stretches across the school day both inside the classroom, in the corridors, the dining room and beyond the school gates. We all work together to educate your children to empower them to strive for excellence in all aspects of their learning.
As Open Day season commences for senior schools I do urge parents in the Upper School to visit a variety of schools. Know what you are looking for, but most important of all, make sure that you get a good feel for the school - that gut instinct. Do read the articles I have linked to assist you and do come back to share your experiences with me.
I thank all our parents and pupils for being our best ambassadors - it is through the conversations that you are having with family, friends and colleagues that the reputation of our school spreads and we look forward to meeting our prospective parents this year for the families wishing to join our unique community.
Posted on: 14/09/2018
Weekly News - Friday 14th September 2018It has been an incredible first week back for the pupils at all three sites. It is wonderful to see how quickly our Ducklings children have settled in to their new 'nest'! There was much excitement as our Lower School children entered their new-look school on Monday morning. They have now all explored their new classrooms and are making the most of the amazing new facilities. The grand opening will be after half term and we will finalise dates as soon as possible.
Upper School children have had a very busy week meeting their new teachers and settling into new routines. I have admired how they are responding to the changes and rising to new challenges. Our Year 6 pupils have had an intense start to the new academic year with their 11+ examinations and we look forward to seeing them all next week for a 'normal' school week.
PA Welcome Event For New Parents
The PA Welcome Event for parents who are new to the school will now take place next Saturday, 22nd September, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in The Evans Hall. We hope to see all our new families there.
STEAM Day - Friday 21st September
Preparations are well underway for our exciting STEAM Day next Friday. Thank you to all parents who have offered to run or assist with the workshops. If there are any Upper School parents who would still like to assist, please email Mr. Tovell at email@example.com.
The school was a riot of colour today as we had our first Tog Day of the year, in support of Cancer Research UK's Relay for Life. Many thanks to you all for your generosity in supporting this charity. We will announce the total raised in due course. It has been heartwarming this week to hear from families whose children have requested donations towards the charity instead of birthday presents. What incredibly aware and kind-hearted children we have here!
Co-Curricular Activities - Autumn Term (Reception to Year 6)
We are pleased to announce that our new online booking system goes live for parents today. The school has partnered with SchoolsBuddy to provide this system, which will allow parents to make bookings for school events and activities online.
Today, parents of children in Reception to Year 6 will receive an activation email. Please follow the link in the email to activate your account, and then follow the instructions on the SchoolsBuddy screen to book your Co-Curricular Activities for this term. The booking system allows you to choose up to three activities per session using a preference system. Once parents have added their preferences and the closing date for bookings has passed, the system will automatically allocate as many first choice clubs as it can. Next week, parents will receive an email confirming which clubs your child has been allocated and you will then need to pay online, through SchoolsBuddy, in order to confirm your child's place. Please do also download the SchoolsBuddy app when you are prompted to do so.
Parents with children in Ducklings and Nursery will receive their SchoolsBuddy activation email early next week when bookings will also open for our upcoming Internet Safety evening.
We know that the new system will take a little getting used to, but we are confident that it will be user-friendly for parents and will prove very useful in the long term. Since we will be using SchoolsBuddy for all bookings (including parents' evenings, play/event ticket bookings and, eventually, wraparound care), it is crucial that all parents activate their account and become familiar with the system. If you experience any difficulties in using SchoolsBuddy, please telephone or visit the school office and staff will be pleased to help. Please note that school staff will not be able to make bookings on your behalf.
A super time was had by over 70 pupils at our two summer schools a few weeks back in August. At Upper School, the younger pupils were thrilled to experience the delights of having a petting zoo visit for the day, as well as enjoying many creative and active activities throughout the week's theme of 'On The Farm'.
Our older pupils got their thrills in adventurous activities on water and land whilst based at Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre for the week. Kayaking, abseiling, caving, fencing and karting were just a few of the adrenaline-fuelled activities they did during the week. Friday was fancy dress day and we saw some amazing 'Under the Sea' themed costumes. Photographs of both our summer schools can be seen in the gallery here.
Please note a number of items were left at HOAC. These have been returned to school and can be found in lost property.
Meet The Teacher Evenings
It was lovely to see so many parents attend the Year 3/Year 6 Meet The Teacher evening last night. I am sure you found the meeting informative. We look forward to meeting with the Year 4 and Year 5 parents next Thursday.
Our new school bus service is now running daily from Eastcote through Ruislip and Ickenham to school. Children in Years 2 to 6 are welcome to book onto the bus for odd days or whole weeks. Please telephone the school office or complete the booking form on the School Documents page if you would like to book onto the bus.
We already have rather a large amount of lost property, much of it unnamed. Please do check the lost property areas at both Lower School and Upper School and please remember to name every item your child wears or brings to school.
I am sure that you have heard from the children the drive that we are having at school on 'routines'. One of our focus areas is developing the children's lunchtime etiquette and table manners. Please do reinforce this at home as the children are developing their knife and fork skills and awareness of table etiquette.
Posted on: 14/09/2018
Head's Blog - The Power Of Everyday HeroesAt our very first staff meeting last week, all employees of St. Helen’s College were reminded of how privileged we all are to spend our working days in an environment where we can have such a positive impact on your children.
Everyone who works in an educational setting is a hero! Many of us are not even aware that we have these superpower ‘hero’ qualities. But to many children they see the adults who surround them, care for them, listen to them each day as their heroes. The children may not be aware of the impact that the adults are having upon them and it may not be until later life when they reflect on their life journey that these everyday heroes will be recalled.
The message which reverberated around the room was about being human first….our roles as teacher, TALA, SMSA, secretary, groundsman, school patrol..these roles come second!
I showed the staff a very moving and poignant TedEx talk by a friend of mine, a teacher who has had a very difficult and moving life journey but now speaks to audiences about ‘The Power of Everyday Heroes’. You can find her talk on Youtube under Jaz Ampaw-Farr/Ted-Ex Norwich. Jaz is a teacher and an excellent literacy trainer but a few years ago, having spoken to audiences about how to improve literacy in the classroom, she decided to reveal her story. As I stood with a very nervous Jaz backstage at ‘Teachmeet London’ she was so apprehensive about whether she should deliver her presentation, which was most certainly nothing to do with phonics and literacy. The impact Jaz’s talk had on the audience that day took her to TedEx Norwich; her message is strong and heartfelt.
We will email parents the link to the video of her talk, which contains sensitive material and is not suitable for children. It only lasts 10 minutes, but this is 10 minutes which may make you step back from your role in your workplace, to remember that ultimately if we can all be human first we may have the greatest and most positive impact on others.
I speak on behalf of all the staff when I say that we are so proud of our St. Helen’s College community. The relationships we have with our pupils and parents are unique and we look forward to a very successful and happy academic year with your precious children.
Posted on: 7/09/2018
Weekly News - Friday 7th September 2018A very warm welcome to all our pupils, parents and staff and a special welcome to all new members of our St. Helen's College community. I trust you have all had a wonderful summer and that the children are all excited for Monday morning! We have had a busy summer here at school with the very well attended Holiday Club and Summer Schools - it was so lovely to see so many of the children throughout the summer having fun in what has been the most glorious weather.
Lower School Building Project
As you are aware, the Lower School project was underway at the very beginning of the holiday! Our contractors, along with Mr. Smith and Mr. Rizzo, have been exceptionally busy over the summer and our new state of the art Nursery and Reception buildings will be ready to welcome the children on Monday. I am sure that you will all be impressed with our new EYFS facilities and the children will benefit hugely from their brand new, first class environment. The staff have been working hard in order to prepare the learning environments and it has been like Christmas Day unpacking all the beautiful new furniture and resources.
As with many building projects we have a few minor snagging points which we will be resolving, thus we do not intend to have our 'Grand Opening' on Friday 14th September. We will publish a new date in due course when we are ready to showcase our pièce de résistance to the whole community.
Our new staff are very excited to meet the children next week: we welcome Miss Joiner (1J), Mr. Campos (Spanish), Miss Ward (Lower School PE) and Miss Heath (US Teaching and Learning Assistant). Miss Hill will be joining Ducklings and Mrs. Coyle returns to Lower School to assist in Reception.
Mrs. Stone, our Breakfast Club assistant, underwent hip surgery over the summer and is making a good recovery but alas she has decided that she will not continue in her role; Miss Beagley will be working with Mrs. Blackstone this term in Breakfast Club.
Mrs. Dennington has been with us in the Finance Office for almost 17 years and having spent time with her retired friends this summer has decided that she too would like to reap the benefits of having more time with her husband, family and friends. Thus we will be bidding farewell to Mrs. Dennington on Friday 14th September. We wish Mrs. Dennington well and thank her for her dedication and commitment to the school.
Miss Shepherd, one of our Lower School SMSAs, who has been on maternity leave since last October, will also not be returning to her post.
Cancer Research Relay for Life - Tog Day on Friday 14th September
I am most grateful to Mrs. Vatsa and Vandan for our Guest Blog this week and for joining us at the CRUK Relay for Life last Saturday. It was a truly wonderful day; CRUK plays such a vital role for so many families. Special thanks to Mrs. Stark and Miss Dear who spearheaded the St. Helen's College Team and to all the staff, families and friends who attended on the day or who have donated so generously to the charity. You can see some photos on our Galleries page.
Next Friday, 14th September, will be a tog day in aid of Cancer Research. Children may come to school dressed in their own clothes, and if they can find something to wear in bright pink or bright blue (the CRUK colours) that would be particularly appropriate. There is a suggested minimum donation of £2 per child; all monies raised will go directly to Cancer Research UK and we thank you in advance for your generosity.
Birthday Cake/Treats - Reminder
Parents are often very generous when it is their child’s birthday, but treats should not be sent to school for distribution to friends. The exception is birthday cake, which should be sliced and individually wrapped at home. Teachers will then distribute it at school to be taken home at the end of the day. Teachers will not distribute any treat apart from cake as described above.
Posted on: 7/09/2018
Head's Blog - Relay for Life (by Mrs. Vatsa)
My youngest son, Anand, was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was only 2 years old, still in nappies and barely talking. He is now a boundless 5 year old, having completed 3.5 years of treatment. This long journey has taken place while we’ve been a part of the St. Helen’s College community, as Anand’s older brother Vandan had just started in Reception when we received the diagnosis.
When Mrs Drummond asked me if we’d like to write about Anand’s treatment journey, I wasn’t sure what from this long story I should write about. During the candle lighting ceremony at the Cancer Research Relay for Life event that the school participated in last weekend, one of the speakers talked at length about hope. I reflected on this and realised that hope wasn’t the thing that resonated most in Anand’s story - it was more resilience, and the positive attitude of a young child who doesn’t really understand negativity. It’s not resilience born of grit or bloody mindedness, more an acceptance of what is, and letting go of what happens.
I know the children learn Mindfulness at school, which is in part about “being present” - children have an innate ability to live in the here and now. Whatever Anand went through, he would let it go. He never let one moment of pain or discomfort ruin the next. If he was 'nil by mouth', it was forgotten the second he could tuck into his cheese sandwich; if he’d had an unpleasant procedure it was forgotten as soon as a sticker was offered, and the adults involved were forgiven immediately. Self-pity very rarely featured. I don’t recall Anand ever expressing regret or anger for what he had to go through or allowing it to ruin what could be. He spent most of his time playing and making mischief like any other little boy, and no one would guess he was any different.
Our neighbour has an elderly sister who is sadly enduring cancer treatment and not coping with it very well. This neighbour came to me for motivation for her sister, knowing how well Anand had coped. I think so much of it came down to his acceptance. Anand didn’t know any better, so just accepted it all. My neighbour’s sister can’t change that she has cancer and can’t really change the treatment she has to endure. To learn anything from Anand, it would be that she can change the mindset with which she bears it. She can dwell on the pain and injustice or she can seek joy and distraction elsewhere - as a child, Anand instinctively chose the latter. We are our children’s teachers, but this highlights to me how much we can learn from our children. They are naturally spirited, full of joy, curiousity, play and adventure. Why sit and mope when there are adventures to be had?
I can’t not mention Anand’s older brother Vandan, who had only just turned 5 when Anand got sick. Through the years of treatment, Vandan has shown similar spirit and resilience. He showed this every time he woke up to find Anand and I had disappeared in the night to the hospital, when plans were waylaid, outings missed, holidays weren’t booked, or he was on the receiving end of Anand’s steroid-induced aggressions. Anand was so often the focus of attention, but Vandan chose to help look after his little brother, and chose to put Anand before himself, rather than complain. He’s the other hero in our story!
It’s strange to think unwitting young children can inspire and motivate us grown ups, but to my initial surprise Anand seems to have. I can’t control what happens to me, but only I can control how I deal with it. I’ve always believed we play the hand we are dealt, and now Anand is my shining example of how to do this.
Unsurprisingly, Vandan was enthused to be involved in writing about Anand’s treatment for the newsletter. Vandan wanted to write about the Relay for Life event. So, over to Vandan....
On Saturday 1st September, my family and I went to the Harrow Relay for Life, organised by Cancer Research UK. When we got there, we had a little look around, and we found the St. Helen’s College stall. Working on the stall were Mr. and Mrs. McLaughlin, Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Stark, Miss Dear and lots of others. On their stall, you could decorate lanterns to light in the evening. Soon after we got there, they gathered everybody together to start the relay. All the cancer survivors were given purple t-shirts to wear, including Anand. As the Deputy Mayor was late, they asked Anand if he would like to cut the ribbon as he was the youngest survivor there. Unfortunately, the Mayor did arrive! Luckily, he asked Anand to cut the ribbon with him, and then off we went walking…as slowly as snails! We walked around the track once, with the St. Helen's team and the St. Helen’s banner – we even got to hold it. After our lap, we got to sit on a blow up sofa in the middle of the track – Mrs. Drummond and I wore a purple wig! We then went to have a go at the activities on the stall and get some food. Luke won amazing VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES on one of the stalls! Well done Luke! Not many of my other friends were there because their parents must have forgotten – I’m pointing at you mums and dads!
I’m sure they raised lots of money for children and adults with cancer. Mrs. Drummond said St. Helen's College raised lots of money this year. Well done to everyone at St. Helen's College!