Dunmow school pupils and staff rally round to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of ‘courageous’ pupil Elliot
PUBLISHED: 09:25 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 29 March 2018
A Dunmow school has raised thousands of pounds for the children’s hospital after a pupil who was cared for by hospital staff died.
Helena Romanes School is raising money by offering ribbons in exchange for a donation to the hospital where Elliot Peters, 14, was treated before he died on March 9.
Elliot’s older sister Bryony, 16 , also a pupil at the school, as well as Elliot’s three best friends, and student welfare manager Morag Atkinson spent nine hours preparing 1,500 red and white ribbons, which are the colours of Elliot’s favourite football team - Arsenal.
As well as students and staff, members of the public have bought ribbons from the school’s reception and Dunmow Rotary Club held a collection on Thursday. The school is planning on selling the ribbons until the end of April.
Mrs Atkinson said: “We want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have supported us. We have been totally amazed by people’s reaction and generosity of staff and students and people in the community.
“We started selling them Thursday morning (March 22) at the school and by closing time on Friday we had £2,000.
“Elliot’s mum, myself and the head teacher wanted some way for the school to mark Elliot’s passing but also some way of recognising the work that GOSH did. Bryony and I went and visited Elliot at the hospital and to see it was a humbling experience.
“They were so kind. They sat us down when we arrived and explained to Bryony what to expect so that it wasn’t such a shock. They let the family sit with him for as long they wanted.”
In a eulogy to her brother, read at Elliot’s funeral yesterday (March 28), Bryony called her brother, who suffered from a genetic disorder, ‘courageous, generous, ambitious, affectionate, and ecstatic’.
She wrote: “Elliot was a very funny person, who was well-known for his extremely rude jokes, which I’ve chosen not to repeat. I found them horrific at the time, but looking back now I actually treasure everything about him. Including him spending a long time admiring himself in the bathroom mirror while wearing my hot-pink headband, wearing his onesie everywhere, talking to about five girls at the same time, taking protein powder that actually didn’t do anything, making fish fingers at 3am.
“Elliot was the greediest person I knew. He ate mountains and mountains of food. Looking at him, you wouldn’t think this as he was very slim. But it got to the point that when the weekly Tesco delivery arrived, I had to make sure I was in the kitchen before Elliot so that he couldn’t demolish everything straightaway. But, nearly every single time, he would beat me.
“Elliot was, and still is, a very much loved boy. He was surrounded by family and friends who completely adored him.”
Several Dunmow shops and businesses have offered to stock the ribbons and accept donations for GOSH.
Elliot and Bryony’s former swimming coach, Louise Poulton, owner of the Gallery on the Park said: “He was a lovely boy. GOSH is a fantastic hospital for children. What they are doing as a family, and what the school is doing means his memory will live on.”
Members of the public can also donate and collect a ribbon from Tesco in Dunmow all day on April 7.
Elliot’s family received a condolence letter from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after staff member Abbie Diss contacted the club.
The family also received a football shirt with Elliot’s name on it and signed by the Arsenal team, which was donated by student Daisy Yarwood and her mother after they got in touch with the club.
In his letter the Arsenal manager wrote: “Although I did not have the privilege of knowing Elliot personally I am aware that he enthusiastically followed the fortunes of his team and for this we are extremely grateful.”
The ribbons were supplied free of charge by Berisfords Ribbons, after Mrs Atkinson explained the cause.
If you would like to stock ribbons in your shop then contact Morag Atkinson on firstname.lastname@example.org.