A teacher’s fight against cancer inspired St Thomas More Catholic Voluntary Academy, in Buxton, to ‘go blue’ and raise over £400 for a local hospice.

Kelly Collinge, Head of Humanities and History teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2023 and was able to access a range of services and support at Blythe House hospice in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

The hospice has also supported many other families at St Thomas More which have been affected by cancer.

Mrs Collinge was keen to raise money for Blythe House and staff and pupils at the school were quick to rally with the whole school wearing blue in exchange for a donation, raising a total of £408.

Mrs Collinge said that Blythe House had been an amazing support to her and her family since her diagnosis.

She said: “They provide all sorts of services, completely free of charge, such as counselling, physiotherapy, complimentary therapies, support groups, and practical help. We are so lucky to have this service in the High Peak, and not have to travel into Manchester. Fortunately, I am on the mend, and have returned to work.

“Everyone at St Thomas More School has been incredibly supportive, and rallied around me when I got sick, as we really are all part of the ‘Tommy’s Family’. I saw the opportunity to raise some funds for Blythe House, and when I mentioned it to the Headteacher, David Redfern, he, without any hesitation whatsoever, said that we would 100% get on board with their ‘Go Blue for Blythe’ campaign.

“Amy Shaw (the Head of English) and her husband very kindly donated sweets for a sweet sale at breaktime to raise as much as we could on the day. They sold out in under 5 minutes! The amount of pupils and staff in blue made me feel quite emotional, as we all, as a whole community, stand together in our fight against cancer.”

David Redfern, Headteacher at St Thomas More, said: “I’m delighted that St Thomas More has raised money for such an special local charity. Blythe House provided invaluable support to Mrs Collinge throughout her cancer journey, and numerous families in our community have also benefitted from their care. I extend a heartfelt thank you to Blythe House for their exceptional care of Mrs Collinge, and I am confident that the funds raised will help them in their mission to support others facing cancer in the High Peak area.”