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20 Jun 2017
Year five pupils from Hilton Primary Academy in Newcastle wanted to put a smile on people’s faces after the tragic events in Manchester and Slatyford bus driver George Docherty was only too keen to help out.
The schoolchildren worked as a team to contact a large number of local businesses, including Stagecoach North East, to ask them if they would be happy to help with their ‘random act of kindness’ event.
Vice Principal Craig Heeley said: “The children came into school the day after the Manchester attacks understandably confused and concerned about what had happened. They had lots of questions, many of which we couldn't answer. But what we did do was discuss the range of emotions that we all feel at times like and what we could do within our power to turn these emotions around. This is when the children came up with their ideas for the 'random act of kindness' at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle.”
The team at Slatyford donated the use of a ‘chartered bus’ to collect the children from school and take them into Newcastle City Centre, with bus driver George at the helm.
The youngsters handed out free cakes and biscuits in Newcastle City Centre, alongside their teachers, and distributed more than 1,000 treats which had been donated by businesses including Greggs, Costa Coffee, Sainsbury’s, and even baked by parents and children themselves.
They stood at the landmark and held up posters and drawings with words such as “Toon4Manchester” and “We Stand Together”. The cakes were given out to passing members of the public as well as armed police officers who were stationed in the city centre.
Assistant Operations Manager, Dave Bambrough, said: “We thought it was a lovely idea that the children had come up with and were more than happy to get involved and help out with free transport. George was delighted to be able to play a part and after such a horrific event, it really brought out the community spirit in people.”
Vice Principal Craig Heeley said: “Our job is to teach - not just English, maths and science - but how to become brilliant children who are caring and compassionate.
“The children felt it was important to show that yes, there are bad people in the world, but there are also good people. They can’t change what happened in Manchester but by doing this, they can do something positive and put smiles on people’s faces.
"We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by Dave and his team at the Slatyford depot. It's great to see big businesses like Stagecoach still care about the communities that are on their doorstep!"
Pupils Jack Birkett and Jessica Scott, both 10, hoped their actions would make a positive difference. Jack said: “We are giving away free cakes and buns because we want to make people feel happy. It’s something positive after what happened in Manchester.”
Jessica added: “After the incident in Manchester, I felt angry and upset because all those people who died never did anything wrong. We talked about it in school and we wanted to do something. We wanted to show everyone that there are good people as well.”
The school also started a fundraising drive and have raised money for the classmates of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, who tragically died in the attack.