Pupils and staff at Dame Allan’s Schools came together in a special assembly to present Marie Curie Care with a cheque for over £3,000 in memory of former pupil Richard Holmes. Much of the money was raised through charity rugby matches in memory of Richard, who was a keen sportsman, playing rugby for Dame Allan’s, Northumbria University and Northern FC, and was just 24 years old when he died of a brain tumour in 2013.
The inaugural match saw British and Irish Lions star John Bentley saying a few words and launching an auction full of donations from regional sports clubs and businesses including Newcastle Falcons and Newcastle United.
Dr Hind, principal at Dame Allan’s Schools, opened the assembly by asking the students how they would like to be remembered. He went on to pay tribute to his former pupil: “Richard was inspirational in the face of adversity. He also had a love of sport and inspired young people to be successful in their sporting careers. We are very proud to have raised this money for Marie Curie which provides such vital care for families like Richard’s.”
Katie Searles, Marie Curie community fundraiser for the north east and Cumbria, attended the assembly to accept the donation and said: “It is a privilege to be able to accept such a wonderful donation on behalf of Marie Curie. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, it’s certainly not the kind of cheque we receive every day. The money raised will go such a long way in helping Marie Curie care for and support patients and families living with a terminal illness in the north east.”
Richard’s mother Linda Holmes added: “Richard was very proud to be part of Dame Allan’s and he would be so pleased to know that this money has been raised for such a good cause. Well done to you all for this fantastic fundraising achievement.”
The cheque was presented to Marie Curie by the Dame Allan’s boys’ games captain Jack Hearn.
A further donation of more than £3,409.87 is to be sent to South Africa for Pecanwood College and its partner outreach school Re-e-lwele. Dame Allan’s has supported the schools for a number of years. Richard visited them on a rugby tour with the school and Jack Hearn will be spending six months teaching sports there next year.