Billingshurst pupils bring Monopoly to life in fundraiser

Monopoly fundraiser - Pupils from Weald Community School and Sixth Form in London SUS-151008-130012001
Monopoly fundraiser - Pupils from Weald Community School and Sixth Form in London SUS-151008-130012001

Teenagers have brought the classic Monopoly boardgame to life by dressing up as playing pieces and taking to London in a 16 mile walk.

But it was not just any ordinary walk, the The Weald Community School and Sixth Form pupils targeted all the places that feature on the property-grabbing game, including Mayfair, Bond Street and Whitechapel Road.

Sixteen-year-old Molly Hedger joined 13 school friends to take on the ambitious challenge under the guidance of the county council’s National Citizen Service (NCS), based in Pulborough, and raised more than £1,700 for the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) – tripling their original target.

“My brother, Sam, has had cancer since he was born and has had it three times now. It is something that’s really close to me and I thought it [the fundraiser] could help others,” said Molly.

Dressed up as the dice, Molly, from Billingshurst, said she did not expect how challenging 16 miles was going to be on Wednesday (August 5).

“It was very challenging and hard. Sometimes I had to remind myself why we are doing this,” she said.

Another student who took part was Charlotte Austin, 16, from Billingshurst, who donned her walking shoes for her friend Ben Atkins.

“He has Lymphoma. His mum is my god-mum. When we were discussing which charity to help we thought it was a good idea – TCT has helped both Ben and Sam.”

With students dressed as the playing pieces, like the dog, top hat and thimble, they took to the London streets to hand out flyers promoting the charity and their Just Giving fundraising page.

Charlotte said: “It was fun until my feet started hurting and I got blisters, but none of us wanted to give up.

“We didn’t realise how long 16 miles was going to be.”

The team, under the guidance of NCS leaders Dan Sneller, 30, and Emma Gover, 23, set an initial target of £500, but when they quickly exceeded it, they decided to up their game and raise the goal to £1,500, which they have also exceeded.

Charlotte said: “When we got to £500 we were so pleased and when we suggested £1,500 some of us were unsure, but when we got to that we were so glad and really surprised.

“We’re so grateful to all the people who donated, it’s for a great charity.”

Just before the team took on the walk, which lasted an enduring ten hours, they stopped by University College Hospital in London to check out the facilities and see what their funds will be supporting.

Lily Drennan, 16, who dressed up as the dog playing piece, said seeing one of the wards made them even more determined.

She said: “We went to the UCH hospital to visit the Teenage ward.

“We saw that actually it didn’t look or feel like a hospital at all. It was bright with lots of space so that the young people didn’t feel enclosed.

“We also saw where the money we raised might be going. They have an overflow area that was being redone but they were relying on funding from TCT.

“Seeing the hospital made us so determined to complete the walk as we wanted to raise as much money as possible.”

Starting and finishing at Euston Road, the exhausted teens were finished by 10pm.

Team leader, Dan, said he is very proud of their big accomplishment and hopes people will continue to donate.

“I’ve never had a group so enthusiastic and so able to do a project like this,” he said.

The Just Giving page will remain live until the pupils graduate this year. If you would like to help the gang continue to raise funds for TCT, visit www.justgiving.com/NCS-Pulborough

GROUP SHOTS CAPTION: Charlotte Austin, Izzy Russel, Lilly Drennan, Ellie Edsor, Leanne Adsett, Gemma Boultwood, Tom Coad, Amy Harrison, Lidia Palermo, Emma Latter, Georgie Williamson, Molly Hedger and Laura Sebastino, Dan Sneller and Emma Gove.