A Danceathon to Celebrate Difference
October is ‘Dwarfism Awareness Month’ and to celebrate, St Peter-in-Thanet Junior School have been holding a 12 Hour Danceathon today (Friday 13th) to raise money for two fantastic charities, Dwarf Sports Association UK and Little People UK.
In what can only be described as ‘an extremely rare occurrence’, I woke up this morning while it was still dark and headed over to St Peter’s to find out what the charity day was all about. I was greeted by Miss Roby, the school’s Office Manager who informed me that the day was arranged to celebrate our differences and to raise and promote awareness of Dwarfism.
One of the organisers of the event was Jemma Hart, a local sixth form student from Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School who also volunteers at St Peter’s. Jemma was born with a condition called Achondroplasia which is a form of Dwarfism. Jemma is a member of the Dwarf Sports Association UK, whose Patron is none other than world record breaking, gold medal winning Paralympian and National Treasure, Ellie Simmonds.
Jemma is also a member of Little People UK, the charity founded by Sammy Davis and her husband, Warwick ….. yes THAT Warwick Davis.
Warwick was brilliant. He greeted every one of the pupils and their parents (some of whom looked even more excited than their children) with a big smile as they arrived at the school entrance, where he happily posed for photographs and signed autographs.
Tom, another member of Dwarf Sports Association UK, also attended the event and was busy throughout the day doing a fantastic job of promoting the charity to the pupils and their families as they arrived.
While the growing queue of parents and children were waiting to meet Warwick, a dancing demonstration from the brilliant Elite Dancers from the school took place to entertain them. The music was invigorating and the young dancers’ energy levels were unbelievable. It was clearly evident that they had spent lots of time in rehearsals as the dance demonstration was polished and very professional. Special credit must go to the dance and drama staff at the school for helping these young dancers become so good.
While the Elite Dancers were busy continuing with the danceathon, the rest of the school attended an assembly with Headteacher, Mr Hunter-Whitehouse. The focus of the assembly was difference, inclusiveness and promoting awareness of dwarfism. The pupils were impeccably behaved throughout and were clearly thrilled when Warwick was introduced to speak to them.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this fantastic school and look forward to working with staff and pupils again in the future. I even had the opportunity to chat with Warwick before I left. I tried really hard but, unfortunately, I was unable to retain my air of professionalism and my ‘inner fanboy’ eventually broke loose. He was engaging and enthusiastic as we discussed the films that I had grown up watching and he had grown up starring in.
Thank you to everyone who made the event possible and thank you to Miss Roby for inviting me along and involving Educational Life. I hope the event raises lots of money and, even more importantly, awareness of these brilliant causes. Good luck to all the dancers who, even as I sit here typing this, are still going strong.
Before I sign off, I’d also like to give a special thanks to Sammy Davis, who was genuinely lovely. We chatted a number of times throughout the event and Educational Life even managed a ‘follow’ from her on twitter. Bonus.
For more information on the charities mentioned in the article, please copy the following links …..
Please enjoy our gallery of the day and feel free to share this page with others …..