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School receives donation from Collingwood sailors

15 July 2016
Recently a group of sailors from HMS Collingwood visited St Francis School, Fareham, to present them with a generous donation.

In total the Mess raised £1550 for St Francis at the establishment’s Warrant Officer and Senior Rates Mess Valentines Dinner, with a charity auction and even Brian Blessed was on hand to sign copies of his autobiography which alone raised £780.

St Francis is a school for children aged between 2 and 19, with severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Many of the pupils have additional physical, emotional, behavioural and communication needs. The highly motivated team working at the school offer the highest quality provision dedicated to meeting the educational and other needs of the children and families who attend.

It’s been brilliant to receive such a substantial donation from Collingwood.

Imogen Sanpanid

With the Mess Committee regularly supporting various charities, the school came to the team’s attention after hearing of the multiple episodes of vandalism they had suffered.

Causing extensive damage of up to £20,000, the school lost a vast amount of their resources which consequently had a big impact on pupils and staff.

Imogen Sanpanid, Assistant Head Teacher, commented “It’s been brilliant to receive such a substantial donation from Collingwood.

“Although the school has endured some bad times lately, a lot of good has come from a bad situation and we have received tremendous support from the local community.

“These children are all entitled and deserve an education like everyone else, it is all about finding what is accessible for us and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with HMS Collingwood.”

As this was the first time that the team from Collingwood have worked with St Francis, a tour was included in the visit, which allowed them to interact with the pupils and see how the donation will affect the school.

The impressive contribution from Collingwood has been used to fund the renovation of the school’s hall, allowing them to purchase new lighting and technical equipment to enhance use of the area and minimising their outsourcing costs for events.

This comes just in time for their annual summer prom, which is a significant event for both students and their parents.

Warrant Officer Del Rea, who is currently the Mess President, said of the experience “After hearing of the school’s plight regarding the vandalism, the Mess Committee decided to get involved and support them with a donation.

“Now we have an insight as to what these amazing people do at St Francis School, we will be looking to help them in the future, through further fundraising and manpower support.”

St Francis is now looking forward to welcoming some new school governors to their team, if you would like to get involved then further information can be found at

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