x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

School decks halls and pads up for charity

Pupils and parents raised Dh50,000 at Christmas event organized by Repton Academy in Dubai. Money will be donated to the Red Crescent to support projects for underprivileged women and children.

Luca Steer, 8, left, Leila Milligan, 9, centre, and Alexia Steer, 6, put on props at the christmas fair.
Luca Steer, 8, left, Leila Milligan, 9, centre, and Alexia Steer, 6, put on props at the christmas fair.

DUBAI // Families spread a little Christmas cheer while raising more than Dh50,000 for charity at a school winter festival yesterday.

Pupils at Repton School donned chef's hats while their mothers and teachers brought cakes and craft items for sale to raise money to support Red Crescent's projects for underprivileged women and children.

A new addition to the annual event was a full day of cricket played between school teams.

"It is a happy day and there is much laughter and fun all around," said Jonathan Hughes-D'Aeth, the headmaster of Repton Dubai.

"And this is the first time we have a cricket festival along with it. Everyone is playing in a competitive, friendly environment."

More than 60 stalls were set up by teacher and pupils selling candies and cupcakes and donated toys, books and clothes.

Parents had brought in professional handicraft work, knick knacks and other decorative items, providing variety to the Christmas gift shoppers.

Rafay Jilani, 10, had been preparing to cook his hamburger and hotdog since 5.30am.

"He said he wants to raise money for charity and wanted to do it by cooking," said Zahra Jilani, his mother.

"He did everything himself - set up the icebox with the food, got the shopping bag, the coal and burner. He was at the it the whole morning because he was so excited."

Rafay's creations sold like hot cakes with orders coming in non-stop, some asking for 14 burgers at a time. By 1pm he had completely sold out and handed over Dh680 as his contribution to charity.

Out in the field, his brother Razah was preparing for a cricket match.

"I am from Pakistan," said the Year 9 pupil. "Over there cricket is like a religion. I was brought up with cricket all around me."

The batsman said he was in high spirits as his family had been there to support him. "It's a friendly match. We have played and beaten this team before. It should be pretty good."

James Burton, a teacher who organised the event, said about 1,000 visitors had joined the festivities at the school yesterday. "In the run-up to Christmas, the fair along with all the cricket fever resulted in a very good turnout," Mr Burton said.

Rajika Manghnani, mother of two children at the school, was a volunteer at the sponge-throwing stall. "My son's class had put up a stall with a reindeer cardboard cutout," said Mrs Manghnani.

"Teachers had to put their head through the circle where the head was and children threw wet sponges at them. Each child got three tries."

She said the game was a tradition at the school.

This year the class managed to raise Dh1,000.

"Its the onset of the festive season and the perfect way to spend a Friday," said Mrs Manghnani.