Determined to make his school playground a more inviting and comfortable place for his fellow pupils, Southway Primary School pupil Nathan Tilley decided to raise money to buy more benches. The Bognor Regis pupil hoped that the introduction of ‘buddy benches’ would give those pupils, who might feel lonely at break times, somewhere to sit and talk to others.
To raise funds in order to purchase the benches, Nathan set himself the challenging task of hiking 11 miles to Bosham Quay. He also organised a cake sale. In total, Nathan raised over £1,000.
Explaining his reasons for embarking on the fundraising campaign, Nathan said:
“I have sometimes experienced loneliness at break times and I wanted to tell people but I found it tricky. So I thought I would come up with a fundraiser where I could raise money to buy benches for children to sit on who felt the same way I did. I hope that any pupils who might find it difficult to speak to others will sit on the benches and will be joined by others who might be feeling the same way. I want everyone in the playground to feel happy and have the chance to make friends.
“I found the hike difficult because my body started to ache towards the end. But I had the resilience to keep on going. It was also hard as I had to change clothes half way as I got drenched by the rain! The best feeling was arriving at Bosham Quay where my family were waiting for me with a ‘pretend’ rope finish line. I was delighted to finish but, more importantly, I am so proud of the amount I have raised for the school.”
Mike Wood, Head Teacher of Southway Primary School, said:
“At Southway Primary School, we want every child to enjoy their time here and feel confident throughout the school day. The ‘buddy benches’ are a brilliant idea and will give those pupils who are slightly less confident in the playground a safe place to sit and talk to others. They are a fantastic addition to our playground.
“We are incredibly grateful to Nathan for raising the money for the benches. Not only has he shown amazing resilience in completing his challenging hike but he has also demonstrated an impressive degree of compassion and empathy for others. He is a real credit to our school and we are very proud of his achievement.”