Students and staff at this south London secondary school were inspired to raise more than £3,700 for Leukaemia UK after one of their teachers underwent treatment for blood cancer.

More than 400 people took part in ‘Lap for Life’, an event organised by staff and students at St Paul’s Academy in Abbey Wood, which involved completing mile-long laps around the school to raise money for Leukaemia UK.

The school raised £3,732 for Leukaemia UK - the highest amount it has ever raised for a single charity.

Leukaemia UK was chosen as the school’s special charity after a teacher at the academy, Jessica Nelson, whose story you can read here, was diagnosed with acute myloid leukaemia.

Carol Duffy, pictured above, with some of the students who took part, is a PE teacher and main organiser of the event, as well as  a friend of Ms Nelson. She said: “To see Jess go through leukaemia, to recover and then to relapse was really difficult. When we planned the ‘Lap for Life’ fundraiser we talked to Jess and her mum - who also works at the school - and they wanted to be a big part of it.

“We were keen for the money to go to the Leukaemia UK Mind and Body Team because Jess told us that having counseling and psychological support really helped her recovery.”

Ms Nelson is now in remission and is the head of a successful dance department at a Performing Arts School in central London, but stays in touch with friends and former colleagues at St Paul’s.

Raising money for Leukaemia UK was a cause which inspired some clever fundraising ideas from students and brought together the whole school community.

Tishaun, 15, who lost count of the number of laps he managed to complete, raised £80 by staying silent for a week - including at home! He carried a collection box around with him, on which was written that he was raising money for Leukaemia UK. As the week went on, he had to increase the size of his box to accommodate all his donations.

He said: “Lap for Life was fun, exhausting and rewarding. I was very proud to do something for other people.”

Emilis, 11, raised a whopping £500 with a little help from his dad’s work colleagues. He said: “My dad asked people at work to sponsor me. I feel sad that some people who have leukaemia feel that they are by themselves. I think this money will really help people who have leukaemia.”

Friends Sharon, 16, Alex, 15 and Mira, 16, clubbed together to run a cake stall for three weeks which raised £300 and helped to publicise the event within the school, while Ethan, 14, collected £100, mainly from the congregation at his local church where he plays the drums at the youth service.

Sharon said: “Since raising money, I’ve found out a lot more about leukaemia and the work of Leukaemia UK. I hadn’t realised that often when people get leukaemia they feel alone and that they can feel like no one understands what they are going through. I can see that, although it felt like a small thing, the money I raised really had an impact and will help someone in the long run.”

St Paul’s Academy raises money for a different charity every year, and Ms Duffy believes that it helps the pupils understand the value of helping others as well as the vital work undertaken by charities such as Leukaemia UK.

Ms Duffy said: “An event such as our ‘Lap for Life’ in aid of Leukaemia UK helped to instill in our students that their actions, however small, can have a massively positive impact on the lives of so many. Taking the time to think of and actively set out to help others are values that we wish to encourage in our students.

"One of the key messages we wished to relay to students as part of our fundraising initiative was, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, and I think students reflected this message in their fundraising efforts and actions. To then see our older students go off into further education and continue to help others is something I’m very, very proud of.”

Everyone at Leukaemia UK has been in awe of the fantastic efforts of the teachers and students at St Paul’s Academy and for raising such a generous amount for our cause. The funds raised will go towards Leukaemia UK's Mind and Body team supporting families affected by blood cancer.

Ask us how your school could help raise money for Leukaemia UK by filling in this contact form.