Northlands Wood Primary Academy pupils 'run wild' to raise £1,500 in memory of teaching assistant

Children and staff at a Haywards Heath school raised more than £1,500 for the World Wildlife Fund with a special running event in memory of a popular teaching assistant.

Karen Wylde, who taught at Northlands Wood Primary Academy, died suddenly in March this year.

Year 3 teacher Kathryn Cheesmur said Karen worked as a higher level teaching assistant in the early years team for more than 13 years

“Losing her has rocked our little community,” said Kathryn.

Northlands Wood Primary Academy's Running Wild event in Haywards Heath on Friday, July 1

Kathryn said she helped organise the ‘Northlands Wood – Running Wild’ event in aid of Karen’s favourite charity on Friday, July 1.

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She said: “The children’s aim was to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund because Mrs Wylde loved elephants.”

Kathryn added: “Throughout the morning each year group (400 children in total) took it in turns to run for 15 minutes on a circuit of the school playground and field alongside their teachers and teaching assistants.”

Northlands Wood Primary Academy's Running Wild event in Haywards Heath on Friday, July 1

Kathryn said that she and her colleague Ruth Parsons are the lead teachers for PSHE and run the school’s WE Team, a group of 16 Year 5 and 6 pupils who organise charity and community events.

“In the past we have taken part in the Global ‘Big Sleep Out’, created ‘Happy Socks’ for the Knight Support Charity in Sussex, collected donations for Family Support Work at Christmas, and organised charity runs for the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity and Cancer Research,” she said.

She said: “The WE Team decorated the start/finish line with balloons, created a playlist, set out the course and cheered on the runners throughout.

“To suit the ‘Running Wild’ theme, the children were invited to run in animal print clothing, T-shirts with their favourite animals on, fancy dress as animals or to just bring their favourite animal stuffed toy.”

Northlands Wood Primary Academy's Running Wild event in Haywards Heath on Friday, July 1

So far the JustGiving page for the event has raised £1,505.

Kathryn said staff are ‘completely blown away’ by the generosity of the community and ‘incredibly impressed’ with the pupils for this achievement.

She said: “Our school community has been through so much, and this event brought us all together to celebrate Karen and the impact she had on us all.

“We were lucky to know her.”

Karen Wylde with her husband and children