November 2019: Remembering Rachel – students raise money

Our students held a fundraising event and hope to have raised £500 in memory of their friend, student Rachel Collins.

Rachel, 17, died after falling from a bridge over the A56 in Haslingden on October 14.

Her family have set up JustGiving pages to raise money for two mental health charities – Young Minds Trust and Place2Be – and so far more than £1,700 has been raised.

Rhys Morton and Mariam Gul, members of the student Sixth Form Management Team, wanted to hold an event and got approval from Rachel’s family and school.

They enlisted fellow students and Rachel’s stepsister Amelia Harrison, 16, who is also in Sixth Form, to help with the organisation.

Rhys Morton, 17, said: “We got in contact with Rachel’s parents because we wanted to raise money for their JustGiving pages and the charity event grew out of several ideas we all had.

“Teachers Mr Albiston and Mr Burrows, who are in a band ‘Uptown Two’, performed ’80s music and there was a raffle with 25 prizes, mostly donated from local businesses.

“One teacher gave us £20 for a single strip of tickets. This was our way of showing our support for the family.”

A table tennis rally competition was held and the students boosted the funds by selling cakes.

Rachel was well known for her brightly coloured hair, and her parents Sean, Mel and families have asked that brightly coloured ribbons be attached to the bridge.

Amelia said: “It is all about raising awareness and encouraging people not to be scared to talk about mental health.

“It is really good for Rachel’s family to see the ribbons and the messages of support that people have put on the bridge.

“Rachel’s family do not want her to be forgotten and the ribbons are something positive.

“When I told Sean how much had been raised by the Sixth Form he was totally overwhelmed.”

Head Boy Tarek Ahmed said: “Rachel was a quiet girl but everyone knew her. When it happened people did not know how to feel.

“School handled it very well and we have had counselling and help in school when people wanted to talk and we had a visit from a therapy dog called Chase.”