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Newsletter AUTUMN 2016


PLUS: • Sri Lanka 2016 • 20,000 Volunteering hours • Record fundraising

Almost 1,000 trees planted for memorial and conservation project

In the week of 7-12 November every boy in the school made their way to the very furthest corner of the school pitches, mostly in driving rain, to plant their own tree, creating a native woodland on our school site. Between them, and a large number of staff and families, nearly 1,000 trees have been planted, and more will be added throughout the winter and early next spring. The trees planted included oak, hazel, maple, wild cherry, hornbeam, willow and gelder rose. These species were carefully chosen to represent native British woodland, a habitat which supports some of our richest biodiversity and yet is increasingly under threat in the UK. Native oak woodland can support nearly 300 different species of insects, including more than three quarters of our butterfly population, of which two thirds is currently under threat. These insects, along with the fruits and seeds of woodland plants, support a wide variety of birds and small mammals. The tree planting is also an act of remembrance to those who gave their lives in military service and 415 English oaks have been planted to represent the 415 Old Tonbridgians who fell during the First World War.

The trees were very small, 1-year old ‘whips’, and each had to be supported by a cane and protected by a spiral guards against the rabbit population. Planting small trees like these, as well as being very inexpensive, is better than up-rooting and re-plating larger trees as they put down a better root system when they are small and will ultimately be stronger and more hardy.

Once established, this woodland can be used for future Novi camps, CCF activities, and for conservation boys to manage with traditional woodland skills such as coppicing. It will actually make the lower fields warmer (strange but true) and less windy for the footballers in January and February as well as alleviate flooding. And finally it will become a space that we can enjoy.

TCA welcomes Asylum Seekers - Field Day 28 September 2016 TCA boys were delighted to spend Field Day hosting over thirty young people who are currently being housed by Kent County Council whilst seeking Asylum in the UK.

traumatic journeys to get here. The boys are coming to Tonbridge every Wednesday afternoon to play sport and socialise with students. The School is busy looking for more ways they can support these vulnerable young men. The boys enjoyed some sport, a tour of the Old Big School art gallery followed by an eclectic concert provided by a range of our classical, jazz and rock musicians. They were joined by senior guests from High Hilden, Chestnut Lodge and Frome Court care homes, and our friends from Scott’s Project, a local centre for adults with learning disabilities.

These 16 to 18-year-old boys have arrived in the UK unaccompanied by an adult, often having left their home countries in desperate circumstances and endured

The other TCA boys spent Field Day involved in their regular placements, assisting local primary schools with English, singing, debating, numeracy or sport. Others spent the day with the Cage Green Phoenix Centre for Autism, before the children came to the TSC for their regular swim. Finally, some boys spent the day with the Hospice in the Weald running an all-day art workshop, or with the YMCA Horizon project boys building bird boxes.

Judde House 12 hours of sport

The Boars with Oars – Race Day

On the 12th June the Novi of Judde challenged themselves to do 12 sports in 12 hours to raise money for cancer research after our matron was diagnosed with breast cancer. The event was organised by James Earl with assistance from other members of the team and so far has raised over £5,600. After a very early start, our first activity was tennis and everyone got involved and had a great time. Next we headed to the Foundation Astro for rugby (when Max Beverley managed to fracture his finger by trying to catch the ball with his fingertips…), hockey and then football. Rain and hunger meant that we were delighted the next sport was basketball inside, after which we were all shattered. Badminton and climbing were followed by a welcome lunch, after which it was squash. ‘Matey’ (Clair Miller, our Matron) met us with some welcome doughnuts which gave us the strength for water polo and a spinning session…which was just painful! We finished the day with a game of cricket down on Whitby’s astro and the day was rounded off with a slap-up feast and some of Laurence’s birthday cake. Thank you to Dr Ackroyd, Matey and Mr Gales, to our parents for their endless support, the staff at the TSC and to everyone that took part. R. Lavercombe (now JH2).

September 11th 2016 and another glorious day for the annual Tonbridge town Dragon Boat Race. The atmosphere was electric from the off with an especially good spectator turnout due to the weekend heat wave. Competing alongside twenty-two wonderfully dressed teams racing for such a wide variety of charities as always was a joy and, although there were strong competitive undertones, cheers, handshakes and hugs were freely available as competitors spurred each other on. The Boars with Oars also managed to take home the Bronze which rounded the day off nicely for all staff and boys competing.

Peter Brown memorial walk On a bright morning in early September ten friends, including three members of staff, set off to walk 100 km from Albert in France to Ypres in Belgium through the battlefields that took so many lives in WW1. They were walking in memory of their friend and colleague Peter Brown, who had worked as a platoon commander within the CCF until his sad death in November 2015. The walk raised £9850 for The Royal Tank Regiment Benevolent Fund.

Tonbridge School over 20,000 hours of volunteering 2015 -16 In 2015-16 the boys and staff of Tonbridge School collectively gave more than 20,000 hours of their time to support local, national or international projects in the service of others. This page gives a breakdown of how those hours were spent.

TCA Wednesday:


104 boys in weekly placements including: l 72 boys to 8 local primary schools (English, maths, drama, sports & homework clubs) l Swimming with children from Cage Green Autistic Centre l English support at The Hayesbrook school l Football with YMCA boys l Football with Asylum seekers l Art at the Hospice in the Weald l Croquet in care homes

boys worked onsite and offsite with Kent Wildlife trust in practical conservation skills.

2,414 hours

4,088 hours

Whole School Community Day:

Tonbridge School once more opened our doors to host over 1,000 primary school children from 23 local schools who spent the day enjoying a huge range of artistic, academic and sporting activities.

4,980 hours

Sri Lanka:

31 boys plus 10 staff went on this annual trip to support the work of Child Action Lanka

TCA Concert:

Local Senior Citizens enjoyed a fabulous concert at the school hosted by all TCA boys.

320 hours

Field Day:

All TCA boys either spent the whole day in their usual placements or welcomed groups of visitors to the school site for a tour of the OBS Art Gallery plus a concert provided by an eclectic range of classical, jazz and rock musicians.

644 hours

5,740 hours

Science for Schools:

11 boys and staff welcomed local Primary Schools to our Science lab every week for exciting experiments.

487 hours

Novi Sleepout:

Boys in the Novi slept rough in the Quad to better understand and highlight issues of homelessness.

1,728 hours

Over 20,000 hours!

Tonbridge School Charitable Fundraising 2015 -16

Total £96,371.53 School Events 2015-16 (chronological order)

Charity Supported


Pink Day

Breast Cancer Now


TSC cake sale

Macmillan cancer research


Poppy Sales & collection

The Royal British Legion


Toy Appeal, cash donations from parents

Tunbridge Wells Mayor’s Toy Appeal


SEP Projects

ActionAid & Trees for Life


Bandana Day

Silas Pullen Fund for The Brain Tumour Charity


Novi Sleep Out



Doughnut sales

Niemann-Pick Research Foundation and Cure Parkinsons Trust


Dancing with Praes 2016

The Down Syndrome Research Foundation & The ITP Support Association


Whole School Community Day and other events

Child Action Lanka


Chapel collections from services

A different charity supported each service throughout the year


Additional House events / charities (all Houses supported above larger events) Judde House Ironman challenge

Supporting Liyema Mgwigwi


Judde House Novi 12 Sports event

Breast Cancer Now


Park House events

Silas Pullen Fund for The Brain Tumour Charity & Centre Point


Parkside House

Nogqaza Primary School, South Africa


Various House Starvation Lunches

Farm Africa, Nehemiah Charity, Sierra Leone,


Smythe House Child Sponsorship



Whitworth House Child Sponsorship

SOS Children’s Villages International


Gift Aid where appropriate




Pink Day kicks off 2016-17 fundraising with record total of £2,310.23 for Breast Cancer Care

Following a brave and moving Chapel Talk to the whole school by Clair Miller (JH Matron), in which she talked of her own current battle with breast cancer, the school got behind the day even more than ever, with a record number turning up in often outrageous, and impractical, costumes!

Many thanks to Luke Moore and his team, mainly from WH3, for their mammoth efforts in selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts on Pink Day, which raised a staggering £590.33 for Breast Cancer Care.

Sri Lanka 2016

On 2 July, 31 Tonbridge boys and 10 staff set off for the now annual trip to the stunning island of Sri Lanka to support the challenging and life-changing work of Child Action Lanka (CAL). All of us had heard about the challenges behind the tourist’s view of Sri Lanka, recovering as it is from a desperate civil war, the catastrophic tsunami of 2002, religious and ethnic tensions and prejudice, and widespread poverty. CAL support families and children who live on the street, or are at risk of becoming homeless, offering support, food, education and other practical support. We carried with us over 800kg of donated clothing, shoes, art and sports equipment. All of us were excited and more than a bit apprehensive.

wearing their own screen-printed T-shirts, wearing animal masks and waving kites, before playing in a touch-rugby tournament between local schools.

The group travelled to Kandy, the cultural centre of this beautiful island, and the centre of Child Action Lanka’s activities, and were treated to an amazing welcome ceremony. The party then split up into four groups, each of whom travelled to a different CAL base across the country, and faced quite different conditions and challenges.

Kilinochi in the far north was the administrative Centre and the de facto capital of the LTTE’s (Tamil Tigers). The CAL centre opened in March 2012 supporting kids badly affected by the war, offering education and emotional support. The team focussed on teaching English in schools in the mornings as well as in the CAL centres, coaching cricket in the afternoons, and manual projects including putting up a much-wanted cricket net within the compound.

Kandy is a city in the centre of the island, where CAL support over 350 children and families. The team worked with children from babies to 18yrs, offering English teaching, lots of art and crafts sessions, and coaching touch-rugby in the afternoons. We also spent some time with the ‘street’ parents, offering them a slight respite from their otherwise harsh days’ work. The highlight was a parade through the town, all the children and parents

Batticaloa on the east coast, is a fishing community devastated by both the civil war and the tsunami, and has the largest of the CAL centres, supporting over 420 children from five rural communities. The team focussed on teaching English in schools in the morning, manual building projects, and coaching touch rugby in the afternoons, as well as lots of fun on their beaches.

Nuwara Eliya is in the mountainous tree-plantation district, with cooler climate and high rainfall. The area is beautiful, often described as ‘little England’ and the poverty is more hidden. Most of the parents work in vegetable fields making them unable to support and raise their kids with

proper education and nutrition due to low incomes. Our team focussed on renovating a new CAL centre in the mornings, including painting a stunning mural on the walls, and coaching touch rugby in the afternoons.

“Without a doubt the most rewarding fortnight of my life”

Some of the things we saw and the stories that we heard about the lives of those families supported by CAL were difficult. We learnt that some of the older girls have already tried to take their own lives to try and escape

the abuse that they have endured. We understood that girls born as the products of rape during the war will themselves never marry, and as a result their futures are uncertain. For those of us in Kandy, the reality really hit when we visited the bare cardboard boxes that make up the home of one family, with children we had got to know well, on the top of the multi-story car park near the market. There are layers of complexity of issues facing some of these families, and we are naïve to think that we can change anything quickly. However, through the support of Child Action Lanka, change is happening in these children’s lives, and Tonbridge School has become an important part of their project.

With more than 10% of the boys currently in the school having been on one of our trips and spent time with Child Action Lanka, a number of GAP year projects planned by some of these boys, and with a further large trip planned for 2017, our links with Child Action Lanka are growing. Long may this partnership continue.

Christmas Toy Appeal - a huge success

Many thanks to all boys, parents and staff who contributed so generously to our annual Mayoral Christmas Toy Appeal. Once again, thousands of new and nearly-new toys, books, games and craft items were brought into Big School and sorted into age-appropriate categories by a fleet of willing volunteers from the TCA Parents’ Group. The gifts were then distributed via charities, schools and social services to local families in need across the wider Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells areas helping hundreds of local children have a happier Christmas. Children in Moldova are going to have a very special Christmas this year thanks again to the boys, parents and staff of Park House who collected enough gift items (toiletries, stationery, hats & gloves and toys) to fill a record number of 124 shoe boxes for the charity Mustard Seed ‘Love In A Box” campaign. Congratulations and many thanks!

TCA placements start in local community and run weekly until Wednesday 15 March (excluding 15 February)

Tuesday 31 January

TCA Community Concert – all TCA boys host senior Tonbridge residents for an evening of music and company. Please contact us if you know of someone who would like an invitation, or if you can help with transport

Friday 10 March

Sri Lanka Day – raising funds and donations of equipment for Child Action Lanka

Saturday 22 April

Sleepout – join the Tonbridge Novi sleeping rough in the quad to raise understanding of the issues around homelessness, raising funds for local homeless charity Porchlight

Early May

TCA Parents'


Providing prac tical support for community projects orga nised by boy s and staff at Tonbridge Scho ol

This TCA Newsletter is produced termly and can be accessed on the School’s website at If you know someone who would like to receive a hard copy, please contact

Bandana Day – supporting the Silas Pullen Fund for The Brain Tumour Charity

Wednesday 28 Whole School Community June Day – all boys and staff host a day of community outreach and fundraising, ending with the now annual Dancing with the Praes c. Monday 3 Sunday 16 July

Sri Lanka Trip – boys and staff work with Child Action Lanka to improve the lives of street children

Wednesday 13 September

TCA training afternoon for all boys volunteering for Wednesday TCA activities

Wednesday 20 September

TCA Placements begin in our local community

Social Entrepreneur! Congratulations to Eddie Forman (PH2) who designed his own Christmas cards, selling them in the house and school, raising over £330 for Centre Point.

Tonbridge School encourages a heightened sense of individual and collective Social Responsibility across all staff and boys, based on self-knowledge, carefully fostered spiritual and moral values, and a grounded, outward-looking awareness of others. For more information about our projects, how you can get involved, or to ask for our support in new initiatives, please email or visit

Designed by Jody Taylor, Tonbridge School Reprographics Department

These lovely poppies were made by Tina Plant, Estates Department, in memory of her husband Mark, and to mark 300 years since the establishment of the Corps of the Royal Engineers, with whom Mark served, as well as the fallen from the school community from both World Wars.

The TCA Parents’ Group assists in TCA community projects offering practical help where needed. Our next event is the TCA Community Concert on Tuesday 31 January when we will be looking for drivers to help collect guests. If you would like to volunteer to help, please email us at or visit the parents’ portal for more information.

Wednesday 11 January

Wednesday 10 Field Day – Tonbridge boys May host local Primary Schools in the Annual Olympic Legacy Athletics Competition

300 Poppy Memorial

TCA Parents’ Group - can you help?

Diary Dates 2016-17

TCA Newsletter Autumn 2016  

Autumn 2016 news from Tonbridge Community Action

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