'They are amazing' - Education boss praises Hartlepool school as ITV's This Morning donates to fundraising appeal

A Hartlepool school boss has pledged to create ‘as many opportunities as possible’ for his students after an online fundraiser to support its performing arts programme smashed its target.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 3:01 pm
Updated Friday, 12th July 2019, 7:17 pm
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have shown their support for the Hartlepool school. Picture: PA.

Students, parents and staff at Catcote Academy, Hartlepool, were left gobsmacked when ITV’s This Morning visited the school on Friday, July 12 and announced it was contributing money to the online appeal, helping the fundraiser hit its £5,000 target. This money will enable the school to continue to put on shows and inspire the young people who attend.

Since the show aired on Friday, the school’s GoFundMe page has more than doubled its target, topping £10,000, with donations flooding in from across the globe.

Presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby also donated a combined £5,000 out of their own pockets to fund the programme for another 12 months, hailing their work as ‘incredible’.

Catcote Academy has reached its fundraising target.

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Now Alan Chapman, CEO of Hartlepool Aspire Trust, which runs Catcote Academy, Catcote Futures and Catcote Sixth Form, has paid tribute to the ‘amazing’ students and staff as the school recovers from a whirlwind day in front of the TV cameras.

He told the Mail: “To be able to do something as a whole community and contribute, have a laugh and have fun – it’s a perfect vehicle for that. We now have a very, very healthy performing arts fund.”

Bosses at This Morning contacted the school on Thursday, July 11 to let them know they would feature on the show the following day.

It was originally set to be a Skype appearance – but then it was agreed that a full film crew would head to Hartlepool to meet everyone, including guest presenter Dr Ranj.

What came next was a packed evening and morning of preparations for the Friday TV slot, with children, families and teachers alike involved in the appearance.

Money raised through the appeal will go towards future performances, equipment and costumes.

Alan added: “It’s about providing as many opportunities for our kids as we can possibly get – they are amazing, our staff are amazing.”