A group of Lower Sixth Form boys have put pen to paper to create a unique show of appreciation for staff who work at a local hospice as part of the school’s Community Partnership Programme.

Doctors, nurses, carers and specialists who work at St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger have faced unprecedented challenges this year, with two lockdowns, PPE shielding, and restrictions on patient visits from loved ones. When Joba Thomas, Charlie McCutcheon, Marcus Chien and Artin Lee learned of this, they wanted to do something to say thank you for all the wonderful work the hospice staff do, while also spreading a little festive cheer.

Artin Lee with his water colour

With the help of their form tutor Mrs Caroline Millington, the boys decided to create personal gifts that would reflect on the particularly difficult year and help to reassure staff that things will get better.

Joba, who penned a beautiful poem called ‘Fear Not’, explained, “I wanted to write a reminiscent poem about the things they would normally have done this year and to remind them that they will do these things again – it’s not always going to be like this.”

His poem contains phrases such as “The great hike, Starlight” which is a reference to the hospice’s much-loved annual moonlight charity walk, which sadly could not happen this year. His poem also makes metaphorical references including, “The voices of cherubim near, the voices sing into the ear”, which is a homage to the annual carol service which would normally take place at this time of year.

Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, the boys were not able to hand their gifts over in person. However, Mrs Millington, who encouraged the boys throughout the project, was able to do so on their behalf. Mrs Millington said after visiting the hospice, “It has been a real pleasure working with the boys on this project, and I have been blown away by their creativity. I felt immensely proud handing over their work to the hospice, and it has been lovely to see the boys contributing to the wider community in such a positive way.”

Hayley Webb with the gifts

Hayley Webb, Community Fundraising Manager at St John’s,  who was at the hospice to receive the gifts, which also included a food hamper put together by the boys, said afterwards, “The kind donations of drawings, poems and the hamper are greatly appreciated by the hospice, especially now. Our Sue Ryder doctors, nurses, carers and specialists might be on the frontline, but they couldn’t be there if we didn’t also have the support of places like Bedford School. Your fundraising this year and kind creative gifts will bring smiles to the staff at St John’s and it’s a lovely way to show you’re thinking of us. We can only keep caring because you care too.”

You can read the boys’ poems here.

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