Students at a Hillingdon school have brought the spirit of Christmas to life with not one but three acts of kindness to benefit the local community.

Pupils at Park Academy have donated a record 1,500 items which will be gifted to a local foodbank drive. The staggering total is triple the 500 groceries handed in last year.

The students have also ensured that vulnerable youngsters are not forgotten about during the festive season by also taking part in The Samaritan’s Purse annual ‘Operation Christmas Child’. Almost 100 shoeboxes have been filled with treats and gifts for children most in need who would not otherwise receive presents.

In a sweet personal touch, the foodbank cartons and shoeboxes have been filled with handmade Christmas cards produced by pupils at the Park View Road school.

Year 11 students and staff give back to the community at Christmas.

Ryan West, Coordinator of Modern Foreign Languages, instigated the foodbank appeal which will see the items donated to Yiewsley & West Drayton Foodbank.

Mr West said this year’s appeal was even more important because of the impact of Covid-19. He told the Hillingdon Times: “You never know who – even within our own school– is suffering this year with things like their parents losing their jobs due to Covid, and we really wanted the students to be mindful of that.

“If you can give, you absolutely should, and this foodbank drive has reminded the students of that.”

Each year group had assigned foodbank captains who encouraged and collected donations from their peers every morning.

Bradley Brazil, a Year 11 captain, commented: “I’m fortunate enough to have parents who can provide me with food, but not everyone is, so I wanted to help.”

Ellie Edwards, a Year 11 captain, added: “A lot of people will go hungry at Christmas because they can’t afford a proper meal.

“This year more than ever, because of Coronavirus, it was important for us to help people in that situation.”

Foodbank items were donated to Yiewsley and West Drayton Foodbank.

Park’s Transition Lead Naomi Coppard, co-ordinated the shoebox appeal which saw 85 filled with toys, books, stationary and more.

Principal Juan Delgado said: “Through actions like the shoebox appeal, we hope to teach our students the importance of how their contributions can have an impact on those around them.

“Their ability to transform the lives of people less fortunate than they are is a very powerful motivator that will lead to even greater contributions from our students in the future.”

Year 11 students filling shoeboxes with gifts.

Years 7 to 9 took part in a Christmas card competition of designing a card that Park Academy could give to the community.

From 50 entries, 3 winners were selected – one from each participating year group.

Students were judged on their dedication to the project.

The designs of the winning cards included a Christmas tree, a festive adaptation of Park Academy’s logo, and a cosy fireplace design.

The winning Christmas card designs.

The winning designs were mass-printed and distributed in the shoeboxes and at Yiewsley and West Drayton Foodbank.

Danny Gardner, Deputy Coordinator of Art and Design, said: “As a new teacher here, it’s really heart-warming to see how many students value art.

“It’s refreshing to have such a buzz of creativity around the school, and it’s especially lovely to see that creativity being used for a good cause this Christmas, so I’m really proud of all of the students that entered.”