Horndean pupils inspired to create Christmas tree made of 700 tins for the village food bank with 'reverse advent calendar'

A TRIP to a community food bank inspired primary pupils to give back in a big way and create a Christmas tree with a twist.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 6:00 am

A group of year 5 children from Horndean Church of England Junior School were invited on an educational trip to the Horndean food bank earlier this year, to help the volunteers sort out donations.

This experience inspired the children to want to give something back this Christmas, and they came up with the idea for the whole school to join in with a reverse advent calendar scheme.

A reverse advent calendar is one in which instead of receiving a present – such as a chocolate – each day during December, you donate one to a good cause.

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Finlay Lyons, 10, who donated two food tins a day. Picture: Sarah Standing (191219-3687)

Donations of meatballs, ravioli, beans and more have been coming in every day and hundreds of tins were turned into a giant Christmas tree on proud display in the school hall until the food bank collected it.

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Lou Bundy, deputy headteacher, said: ‘The children have really taken it on board and gone for it.

‘It was quite a powerful experience going to the foodbank and realising there are lots of families in our community who struggle.

Esme and Molly List who contributed tins and made decorations. Picture: Sarah Standing (191219-3673)

‘Hopefully it’ll reach people in time for Christmas which will take some pressure off.’

Some children went above and beyond for the charity effort, with year 6 pupil Finlay Lyons setting himself a personal challenge to bring in two tins a day - he managed to add 18 meals to the stash.

Esme List, nine, and her seven-year-old sister Molly thought the tree was a nice idea, so created some handmade decorations made from pompoms to liven it up a bit.

Headteacher Maria Ackland was really proud of the school’s effort, and the way it ties in with the school’s Christian values.

Sisters Molly, seven (left) and Esme List, nine and Finlay Lyons, 10. Picture: Sarah Standing (191219-3698)

She said: ‘We have been overwhelmed, we hoped everybody could find one tin but that would only have been 550 - there are closer to 700 tins.

‘We’re really proud that the children came up with the ideas and a little idea can make something big like this.

‘I think what’s lovely is that children are bringing them in to donate to the food bank and some of our families may well benefit from that.’