Clyst Vale Community College students give Exmouth RNLI a grand boost to honour World War One hero Harry

Students from Clyst Vale Community College honoured a World War One hero by donating more than £1,000 to Exmouth RNLI. 

Young people have been learning about the school’s connection to Harry Patch, the last survivor of the trench warfare of the conflict, who was a supporter of the lifesaving charity.

Some 14 pupils joined head of history Heather Padden and head of art Marc Brooks on a visit to the lifeboat station in Exmouth on Armistice Day, November 11.

They presented a cheque for £997 and handed over £168 in cash – along with a cake for the lifesaving volunteer crew to share.

Students from Clyst Vale Community College present their cake for Exmouth RNLI crew to lifeboat operations manager Mike Gall. Picture: Ian Bateman

Students from Clyst Vale Community College present their cake for Exmouth RNLI crew to lifeboat operations manager Mike Gall. Picture: Ian Bateman

Mrs Padden explained that, some years ago, the school had become involved with Harry. He was then 109 years old and was the oldest person in Europe.

The proceeds from Harry’s book, The Last Tommy, all went to the RNLI and the school has continued the tradition.

Harry’s story is used to teach the students about World War One, and every year on September 22, they hold a day in his honour to raise funds.

This year, pupils were challenged to paint a picture of the flowers in the school’s Harry Patch garden, which is filled with flowers from every country that fought in the Great War.

The top 14 entrants won a trip around the lifeboat station in Exmouth, and proceeds from the sale of the paintings, together with money raised from a cake bake, were handed over on the visit.

Exmouth RNLI fundraising committee chairman Robin Humphreys, said: “It was particularly appropriate to welcome Clyst Vale Community College to the station on 11 November; Armistice Day.

“The volunteers at Exmouth RNLI are extremely grateful to be chosen as the school’s charity.

“All the monies donated will go towards the purchase of crew equipment and training; so they can continue to carry out their vital lifesaving work.”

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