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Cash boost a Christmas cracker for BCHS kids

By Alan Beresford

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THE best Christmas present ever was in store for the students at Buckie Community High School's special education department (SED) when they were handed a cheque for almost £10,000.

Suzanne Clark (seated, second left) presents a cheque for £9254.76 to the special education department at Buckie High.
Picture: Eric Cormack
Suzanne Clark (seated, second left) presents a cheque for £9254.76 to the special education department at Buckie High. Picture: Eric Cormack

One of the visitors to the parents and friends' recent open day was none other than Mad Hatter's tea party fund-raiser Suzanne Clark, who over the last seven years has raised the incredible sum of over £40,000 for the department. She was on hand to present yet another bumper cheque. This year's event, held over October 4-5, collected a grand total of £9254.76.

The sum smashes all previous records achieved by Mrs Clark and her team of dedicated helpers – including husband Derek, son Jodie, family members and friends – beating last year's cheque of £7207 by over £2000.

Mrs Clark told the Advertiser: "It's a record breaking total this year, we're all amazed.

"I think we're all astonished at the response we had this year from people, I can't thank them enough for their support.

"A lot of people have been coming along for years to support us. The money means so much to the kids here."

This year the event was held for the first time in Buckie All Saints church hall, the previous six tea parties being held at the Clarks' Shearer Avenue home, and it was a decision which was declared an undoubted winner.

"The original idea of moving to the hall was that there'd be more room for the numbers of people who usually came along," Mrs Clark continued.

"However, we ended up with loads more people coming along so it was just as busy.

"We were lucky to have so many helpers there over the two days of the tea party.

"The hall is definitely a winner and we might look at moving to an even bigger venue for next year's Mad Hatter's tea party."

One of those joining the two-day tea party was PT SED Sharon Aitken, who brought with her a stand explaining how money previously raised from the event had been spent. She was keen underline just how much the money meant to the youngsters at the unit.

She said: "These donations have a huge impact on the young people here as it allows us to enhance their learning in ways we otherwise couldn't afford to do.

"It makes their learning exciting and interesting and helps them focus, which leads to better results.

"Thanks to Suzanne, her team and the people who support them we can buy equipment and go on trips, including our residential course, which is a huge thing for us."

The original spur for the Clarks to get fund-raising was son Jodie, who at the time was a student at the unit. His Alice in Wonderland motif mugs. water bottles, key rings and jigsaws helped boost the final total from the tea party, as did a bonus ball competition run by Mrs Clark which netted £2500.


THE sum of £40,000 over seven years sounds a lot of money, but for the kids at Buckie High's special education department it has transformed their learning experience.

With another bumper cheque under their belts thanks to Suzanne Clark and Mad Hatter's tea party fund-raising team, the department's PT Sharon Aitken illustrated some of the many things last year's cheque for just over £7000 managed to achieve.

She said: "The money goes surprisingly quickly as a lot of the specialist equipment we buy to help the young people here is very expensive.

"It does, however, make a massive impact on what we can offer the young people here."

Last year's cheque was split into sums large and small to help provide a wide range of activities and equipment for the students.

Over £2600 was earmarked for education excursions, which included Abernethy Adventure Centre and trips to a trampoline park and the panto.

Another major expense is hiring transport with tail lifts to accommodate those students in wheelchairs, which set the unit back over £1000.

Money was also spent on various ICT resources as well as participating in competitions held within the Buckie school group area.

Other curriculum enhancing expenditure included arts and crafts resources, lifeskills cooking, the unit's garden and a float in the Buckie Christmas Kracker parade.

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