Students host virtual pet show for good cause

STUDENTS at Ripon Grammar School have come up with an imaginative fundraising idea to help young people affected by the pandemic – a virtual pet show.

Working around the fundraising restrictions of the pandemic, the school's Prince's Trust charity team is asking for photographs showcasing the best and cutest pets, for a suggested donation of £2, with cash and pet hamper prizes in three categories -  dogs, cats and other animals.

With more than 50 adorable pet photos already entered to the Instagram competition, the closing date is March 10, with winners announced later in the month.

All money raised will go towards the Prince’s Trust, which helps young people all over the UK build their confidence and skills and supports them into jobs, education and training.

Organiser Alice Simmerson, who has entered he own dog, Flo, into the virtual pet show, said: “I feel confident that, despite lockdown, we can achieve our aims to raise a large sum of money for such a good cause.”

Student Molly Acton added that she and the other members of the 13-strong RGS Prince’s Trust team feel strongly about helping young people adversely affected by the pandemic.

Many of those the charity supports are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law.

“I feel proud to be raising money for this charity despite being us all being confined to home. Even though we may be struggling to control our own lives, we can still help others.

“With education interrupted, the loss of apprenticeships and increasing youth unemployment, young people especially have suffered at the hands of the pandemic. If we can help in any way to make their lives easier and more sustainable, we must,” she said.

Her team faced bigger challenges than previous years due to coronavirus, she added: “But we are confident we are finding ways to overcome the obstacles we face due to restrictions, with ideas such as this Instagram competition.”

Led by Marcus Bartlem, the team raised £200 with a bake sale at school before the recent closure and also sold candy canes before Christmas. They aim to raise around £1,000 in total by the end of this academic year.

Marcus said: “I’m happy the money is going to such a good cause, helping young people to stay on their feet when the coronavirus has derailed so many lives.”

Future fundraising plans include completing the Three Peaks walk, within guidelines, in 24 hours and possibly a funky tie/socks day once school re-opens.

*For more information, visit Instagram rgsvirtualpetshow2021 - link: RGS Virtual Pet Show 2021

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