Fundraising St Albans students smash record and collect £4000 for charity The OLLIE Foundation

Left to right: teacher Nazeela Shirazi, Elise Peacock, Holly Wilmer, and co-founder of OLLIE, Stuart

Left to right: teacher Nazeela Shirazi, Elise Peacock, Holly Wilmer, and co-founder of OLLIE, Stuart Falconer - Credit: Archant

Committed students at a St Albans school have broken fund-raising records and collected a whopping £4,000 for a local suicide charity.

Teenagers from Wordsworth House at Samuel Ryder Academy have been hard at work since last September to collect funds for The OLLIE Foundation (One Life Lost is Enough) - a St Albans charity which aims to raise awareness of teen suicide.

It is the most money any house at the school has raised for a charity in one year.

Fundraising events included a ‘beat the goalie’ and slush drinks stall at the school fair, candy canes with message tags for Christmas, a dance-a-thon, and most recently, a fun run.

The latter involved the students collecting sponsorship money and as a group, they ran the equivalent of four marathons.

House captain Holly Wilmer said: “The OLLIE Foundation has always been a charity close to my heart and the fact that Wordsworth chose this charity made me love the house even more.”

Thirteen year old Elise Peacock encouraged businesses, such as The Pudding Stop and Arnold Ash recruitment, to match fund £1,000: “Out of the numerous events we have hosted, the fun run was my favourite.

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“Handing over the total amount to the founder of the charity will be a memory I will cherish for years to come.”

OLLIE’s co-founder, Stuart Falconer, started the foundation with two other bereaved parents after his 15 year old son, Morgan, took his own life in May 2015.

It provides training in approaching and talking to potentially suicidal people - called SafeTALK.

A more advanced version of the training is also available for those who want to push past that initial contact and make sure the person stays safe into the future - this is called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

He said £4,000 is “amazing”: “It is heartening for us as a charity when young people step forward and talk about supporting OLLIE. I could never have anticipated that.”

Head of the house, Nazeela Shirazi, said: “This fantastic achievement is testament to the hard work the students have put in all year.”

For more information about OLLIE, click here.