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Academy pupil praised for ‘passionate’ fundraising at sponsored walkies event

Amber Growden, a Year 7 pupil at Mark Hall Academy in Harlow, has attracted praise from her local MP and received the Jack Petchey Achievement Award after raising over £1,800 to support charity ‘Protecting Preloved Border Collies’ in her recent ‘sponsored walkies’ fundraising event.

Over 30 people from the local community, along with their dogs, met at Parndon Mill in Harlow on 19 March to take part in the ‘sponsored walkies’. The group walked a 5-mile route along the River Stort, raising £1,817.00 for the ‘Protecting Preloved Border Collies’ charity. Amber organised the event including promoting the event and getting support from local businesses. Amber said: “I chose Protecting Preloved Border Collies because it is an amazing charity which does such amazing things for dogs. I adopted my first dog from them and we now have three border collies and have fostered around 23 collies. I am thrilled that I can raise money for a charity which I treasure dearly.”

In recognition of her achievements, Amber received a letter from Robert Halfon MP, praising her passion and inviting Amber and her family to visit the Houses of Parliament. Amber has also received the Jack Petchey Achievement Award, which enables schools and youth organisations to celebrate the achievements of their young people, after being nominated by her peers and staff at the academy.

Local business got involved to support Amber, including Sally Anderson at Parndon Mill who agreed to Amber using the car park and green area, and Co-operative Funeral Care who donated refreshments for walkers. Amber said: “I have lots of people to thank – my mum and dad for helping me plan and organise the event and everybody who sponsored or supported me. My confidence has grown massively during this challenge as to make the event a big success, I had to approach people and businesses to ask for their support and donations. I am very proud of everything I have achieved and it gives me great pleasure that I have raised such a huge amount of money for a wonderful charity. I think I have grown as a person since I joined Mark Hall Academy because I have become more confident about talking to people, and I overcame my biggest challenge of making a thank you speech to everybody before the walk by recognising that everybody was there to support me.”

Amber organised the event as part of the ‘Tenner Challenge’ young enterprise initiative at Mark Hall Academy, which is part of Academy Transformation Trust. In the challenge, each of the 20 pupils were given £10 capital from which they aimed to make as much money as possible during March, working independently as individuals or a team. To prepare for the challenge, pupils had to produce and present a business plan to secure their capital. This is the first year that Mark Hall Academy have run this project. Pupils produced a range of different products and services with enterprises including car washing, refreshments and house hold decorations. All pupils who took part made a profit after repaying their ‘tenners’, with Amber raising the most money of all the participants.

Jillian Fowler, Head of Technologies at Mark Hall Academy commented: “We believe that Enterprise enables students to gain life skills and so saw the Tenner Challenge as a perfect opportunity to ‘raise the praise’ and develop our students. Amber was an outstanding participant who gained various entrepreneurial traits throughout the month including determination, resilience, independence, courage and above all confidence. Amber is the perfect picture for our moto – Aspire Endeavour Achieve. We are very proud of Amber and can’t wait to see what she will do next year!”

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