Deputy headteacher and daughter stay silent to raise money for St John's Hospice in Lancaster

A deputy headteacher and his daughter did a sponsored silence to raise money for St John's Hospice in Lancaster

By Michelle Blade
Friday, 15th May 2020, 12:30 pm
Ian and Bella Gittins during their sponsored silence to raise money for St John's Hospice.
Ian and Bella Gittins during their sponsored silence to raise money for St John's Hospice.

Bella Gittins, daughter of Bolton-le-Sands CE Primary School, deputy head teacher Ian Gittins, wanted to support St John’s with a sponsored silence because she was worried that the hospice had cancelled so many of their main fundraising events.

Bella and her father decided to be silent a whole day from ‘wake up until bedtime’ to raise funds for St John’s, who looked after two of Bella’s great grandparents.

Bella, nine-year-old, said: “I wanted a big challenge and I talk all the time so I knew a sponsored silence would be really tricky.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Ian and Bella Gittins giving a thumbs up on completing their sponsored silence.

She practised for five minutes and knew being silent from 7.15am to 8.30pm would be very hard indeed!

Bella asked dad, Ian, to join in with her sponsored silence at home saying: “Dad talks more than me, and it will be harder for him!”

Ian agreed that he and Bella make all the noise in their family, and said Bella was excited about the challenge and a little nervous.

Bella was determined not to let people down, especially as she had advertised their plans in the school newsletter so knew lots of people were willing them on.

The pair found it a tough challenge, especially as they chose VE Day for the silence.

Bella said it was really difficult realising she couldn’t talk when someone asked her a question or was talking to her from the next room and wondering aloud why she wouldn’t answer.

Bella and Dad wrote in a book instead, which made an interesting read the next day!

So far the pair have raised £800, having originally set out to raise £100, and are rightly very proud of their achievement.

When finally allowed to speak again, Ian said: “We did it, although it was a lot harder than you think – really tough and harder than a marathon. At times we were honestly swallowing our words!”

Catherine Butterworth, director of income generation said: “What a creative way to raise money for St John’s - this is a really hard challenge for anyone! We are really touched by Bella’s memories of her great grandparents being cared for by our hospice and her will to help us. A big thank you to Bella and Ian for supporting St John’s.”

And Bella’s final comment? "I wouldn’t do it again and I didn’t stop talking all day Saturday.”