Bognor pupil raises over £1k for school’s buddy benches with 11-mile hike

A Bognor Regis boy has raised more than £1,000 in a bid to make his primary school’s playground a more inviting and comfortable place for his fellow pupils.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:15 pm

Nathan Tilley completed an 11-mile hike to Bosham Quay and organised a cake sale to raise money for ‘buddy benches’ at Southway Primary School, which would give pupils who might feel lonely at break times somewhere to sit and talk to others.

Nathan said: “I have sometimes experienced loneliness at break times and I wanted to tell people but I found it tricky.

“So I thought I would come up with a fundraiser where I could raise money to buy benches for children to sit on who felt the same way I did.

Southway Primary School pupil Nathan Tilley raised more than £1,000 for buddy benches with an 11-mile hike

“I hope that any pupils who might find it difficult to speak to others will sit on the benches and will be joined by others who might be feeling the same way.

“I want everyone in the playground to feel happy and have the chance to make friends.

Nathan said he found the hike difficult and that his body started to ache towards the end, but he was determined to keep going – even after he was drenched by the rain and had to change his clothes.

He said: “The best feeling was arriving at Bosham Quay where my family were waiting for me with a ‘pretend’ rope finish line.

Southway Primary School pupil Nathan Tilley raised more than £1,000 for buddy benches with an 11-mile hike

“I was delighted to finish but, more importantly, I am so proud of the amount I have raised for the school.”

So far Nathan has raised £1,337 on his GoFundMe page.

Mike Wood, head teacher of Southway Primary School, said: “At Southway Primary School, we want every child to enjoy their time here and feel confident throughout the school day.

“The ‘buddy benches’ are a brilliant idea and will give those pupils who are slightly less confident in the playground a safe place to sit and talk to others. They are a fantastic addition to our playground.

“We are incredibly grateful to Nathan for raising the money for the benches.

“Not only has he shown amazing resilience in completing his challenging hike but he has also demonstrated an impressive degree of compassion and empathy for others.

“He is a real credit to our school and we are very proud of his achievement.”