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Pancakes for PMSF UK

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Girls’ Division’s first ever Charity Pancake Race and Pancake Café in support of PMSF UK was a huge success! The girls raised over £250 for the foundation – and had a lot of fun in the process.

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome or PMS is a rare genetic disorder caused by the loss of the terminal segment of chromosome 22. This affects the transfer of messages in the brain, which often causes developmental delay. Individuals with PMS may not develop functional language and can have autism-spectrum disorders. Some also experience low muscle-tone and may need to use a wheelchair.

Pupils in the Girls’ Division learned more about the condition last week during assembly from Kathryn Kay, whose son Charlie was diagnosed in July 2010 when he was just a baby. This led her and her husband to help found the UK branch of the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, known as PMSF UK.

Kathryn is a childhood friend of Old Girl and Food Technology teacher Mrs Natalie James, who was delighted that the School was able to help support this charity once again. She said, “It was Miss Hincks’s idea to hold the Pancake Race. In October, the headmistress attended a Masterclass with Mike Harrisson at the Arts Centre which was organised by the Old Girls’ Association, with proceeds from the evening split between the School’s bursary fund and PMSF UK. Miss Hincks was really taken with the charity, and suggested that we should hold a Pancake Race in School to support it. Miss Marrs, the Girls’ Division Charities Representative, had the idea of a pancake sale to go alongside it as a way to make more money for the charity, as everyone loves pancakes!”

Miss Marrs went on to plan the Pancake Race, with Mrs James overseeing the Pancake Café.

The Pancake Café was a huge hit with the girls, with over 150 pancakes sold in under fifteen minutes during morning break! When the Café reopened at lunchtime, the last of the pancakes were quickly snapped up by an eager crowd, making the event a complete sell-out.

However, girls could still get into the spirit with the Pancake Race in the gym. During the assembly, girls were invited to sign up for the race in teams of four to compete in a series of challenges. These included dodging through cones, weaving through ropes, lifting a pair of  hula-hoops over their head, and bouncing a ball – all while holding a pancake in a frying pan! Of course, no Pancake Race would be complete without pancake flipping, and the girls also had to flip the pancake a certain number of times each – sometimes with disastrous but very funny results. Two teams competed at the same time in each race, and the overall winners were the team who managed to get all four members through the course in the fastest time, with time penalties awarded for any mistakes.

Even though who had not signed up could enjoy the fun and watch the teams’ attempts from the gallery, with the entry fee also donated to PMSF UK.

The Lower School (Years 7-9) Competition was won by Year 7s Lizzy Lees, Ellie Bridge, Amber Kirkham and Charlotte Hughes with a winning time of 1.39 minutes. Year 12s Sarah Ibberson, Amelia Howe, Kate Ball and Neha Jeham won the Upper School (Years 10-13) Competition with a time of 1.43 minutes. The winners will be treated to a ‘slap up’ meal on the first Wednesday after half term.

However, the final race was the one everyone was waiting for: four Deputy Head Girls versus two teacher teams, all competing at once! The Science Department had put together a team headed by Mr Ray Ball, while Mr John Radcliffe had rallied a mixed staff team. Running a more challenging course that required them to double almost every element of the race, this was definitely the highlight of the afternoon for pupils and staff alike. The gallery was packed with students, who cheered on the Deputy Head Girls’ team to victory!

The mixed staff team also won a prize – for accruing the most penalty points.

Madeleine Bodger was one of the Year 7 girls involved in the competition. She said, “It was exhilarating and exciting to take part. We decided to sign up because the pancake race sounded like fun – and when we realised that the teachers were doing it too we really wanted to do it as well so we could watch them!”

Girls from Year 10 to Year 13 also assisted with running both the Pancake Café and Pancake Race. Year 13 pupil Chloe Mason assisted with collecting donations, and said, “The assembly from Katherine Kay and Mrs James was very inspirational and moving, and it made us want to help out. The pancake races were great – we were rooting for the Head Girl team! We very much enjoyed watching them.”

Kathryn was absolutely delighted with the girls’ efforts on the day. “This event was brilliant. First I was able to see the Pancake Café, and that sold out which was fantastic! Then the Pancake Race was just really good fun, and it was great to see so many people involved, both pupils and teachers. What a great idea it was – and great to see it come to fruition, from the headmistress speaking about it at the Masterclass! We are really very appreciative of what Bolton School has done for PMSF UK.

“These events are really important for the charity, because they raise money but they also raise awareness, and that’s really important. PMS is such a rare condition that no one has ever heard of it. To see the amount of people involved today, who now know about it, was great.”

The Pancake Race and Pancake Café raised over £250 for the charity, which provides support for UK families affected by PMS. PMSF UK is already planning family days for meeting and sharing information, and hopes to raise enough funds to provide therapy for two families each year.

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Flipping the pancakes was a vital element in the challenge

Flipping the pancakes was a vital element in the challenge

Congestion in the Deputy Head Girls vs Staff race

Congestion in the Deputy Head Girls vs Staff race

The girls really enjoyed the Pancake Cafe

The girls really enjoyed the Pancake Café