Double trouble for fundraiser

19th September 2003 at 01:00
It seemed too good to be true when a junior school in Oxfordshire began handing out pound;10 notes to its parents - and it was.

The boon given to each of 60 families at Fir Tree school in Wallingford came with a catch - they must double the money before the end of October.

It is all part of an innovative initiative, masterminded by governors, to raise funds for a new pound;7,500 outside play area.

"We are speculating to accumulate," said Lee Ryman, head of the mixed junior school. Indeed the first 12 families to succeed in their missions have already covered the cost of the pound;600 initiative, paid for by the parent-teacher association, and some inventive ideas look set to bring in plenty more cash.

One parent who is a fireman has paid his fire station pound;10 for the use of the venue and a hose so that he can wash cars. A teaching assistant has offered the note as a prize to the fastest slimmer on a sponsored diet.

A fencer spent the money on wood which he used to make ornate planters for sale at an auction. A cake-tasting evening, with wine donated from local traders, was particularly successful, and one teacher's special home-made chicken pate has raised an unexpected sum.

One unfortunate parent lost his pound;10 on a horse and a second pound;10 on the lottery but is allegedly determined to win it back. All parents were requested to sign a form promising to at least return the pound;10 if they failed to make any money.

Ms Ryman said: "There have been a few rude and illegal ideas which I would rather not mention, but on the whole people have been very creative and put their talents and hobbies to good use."

She has written to TV cook Jamie Oliver asking for a meal in his Fifteen restaurant in London for the bargain price of pound;10, which she would then raffle off. Ms Ryman is desperately seeking inspiration because if she raises pound;1,000 a parent has promised to match the amount out of her own pocket.

Lee Ryman has requested that good ideas be sent to headteacher@firtree.oxon.sch.uk

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