Roll up! roll up! Last chance to hurl soggy sponges at Mr Ryan in the stocks is on Saturday, July 4.
Mr Ryan will definitely be in the stocks at Spalding Grammar School fete – his last before retiring as headmaster of the school – but whether there will be soggy sponges to hand will depend on the hard-working Parents and Friends Association (PFA) which organises the event each summer.
It’s one of the major fundraisers of the year for the small committee of ten people headed by chairman Anna Spencer.
In the last six years the committee has raised a staggering £124,287 to buy things that wouldn’t otherwise be provided.
Anna says the “extras” bought so far – at the request of students and staff who bid for specific things – include sports equipment, a container for sports stuff, a water fountain, computers and wi-fi access, washing machines and tumble driers for washing PE kit following away fixtures, pictures to decorate the English department, a panini machine for a snack area as well as iPads.
Then there have been the bigger projects, such as buying a mini bus and trailer and revamping the kitchen in the 6th form coffee lounge.
The students and staff gain from having the “extras”, but Anna says getting involved in the process also has benefits for pupils.
The money comes from a number of events, such as quiz and race nights, but the fete and Sunday car boot sales during the summer are the big money spinners.
Anna says: “The sixth formers organise amongst themselves to come and help at the car boots on a Sunday and without them we would struggle. They are a good money earner if you have enough people, but because there are only ten of us we rely on the students.”
Each year the committee tells the student helpers they have a big reputation to live up to, but Anna says: “They always step up to the mark and every year we say, ‘This is the best bunch we have had’.
“It’s good for them. Lots of kids that come here are clever, but don’t have much common sense and this gives them life experience. They are in control of car parking and it gives them a little bit of responsibility and they get a sense of self worth.”
Anna says the committee works as a good team, with treasurer Diane Thackeray keeping a close watch on the purse strings.
However, the committee is always keen to talk to people about the work of the PFA or to hear ideas for new events.
Contact Anna on 07771 917352 or phone the school on 01775 765800 and ask for Chelsea Turnell, who acts as liaison between the school and the committee. Alternatively talk to PFA members at open evenings.