Christmas is a time to think about those no longer with us and for pupils at Newbattle High School it was a time to remember Peter Ashton.
Fourteen-year-old Peter died in August after a ten-month battle with leukaemia. His schoolmates and the wider community have rallied to raise more than £12,000 in his memory – support which has brought comfort to his family.
Back in October pupils at Newbattle embarked on a series of sponsored challenges including a ten-mile cycle and 10,000-metre walk.
Just before the festive break Peter’s mum Mary, from Mayfield, spent an emotional morning at the school, presenting certificates to those who had raised the largest amounts, or contacted the most individual sponsors.
Peter’s sister, first-year pupil Gemma, was hailed for raising the largest sum in memory of her big brother, a total of £419.
Her mother said: “She was hoping that she would be one of them, but didn’t expect to be the overall winner. She was nervous but she did well. Peter would be just gobsmacked. He wasn’t one for attention.”
CCLASP, the Sick Kids Foundation and the John Hartson Foundation will be given £2600 each.
The remainder of the money will go towards a headstone for Peter’s grave, and to help fund extra opportunities for young people in the school.
Mary said the family would always be grateful for the support they received from charities throughout Peter’s treatment.
Student council Pupil Voice will decide exactly how the money will be spent at Newbattle Community High. However, it is hoped that sporting trophies will be dedicated in his name.
Newbattle head Colin Taylor said: “Reflecting on the situation, Peter has been an inspiration to the youngsters and the staff of the school. As a result there was a massive effort on the part of staff and pupils to ensure that there was a really good legacy that we can remember Peter by in terms of fundraising, but also inspiring to have house sporting events in his memory, with trophies in his name so he will never be forgotten.
“The pupils and staff certainly rallied to support Peter’s family and his younger sister. I think that while it’s been a really tragic event, something positive has come out of it in relation to how the school and community has responded.”