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Pride of Britain Award


On Fri­day 12th Sep­tem­ber ITV Merid­ian news arrived in force at King Ethel­bert School in Birch­ing­ton to award the Pride of Britain award for the fundraiser of the year for the South East of Eng­land to Pat Buck­ley. Pat Buck­ley was short­listed down to the last four with each final­ist being given a slot on Merid­ian news each evening last week. The win­ner was decided by a panel of judges who made their deci­sion after watch­ing the films that had been made about the way they were help­ing change com­mu­ni­ties by their fundrais­ing initiatives.
All 4 final­ists were wor­thy win­ners but Pat Buck­ley, a res­i­dent of Birch­ing­ton and a teacher at King Ethel­bert School for over 38 years, was the man who cap­tured the judges hearts.
Pat has been rais­ing money through the Enjewel India project at King Ethel­bert for over 10 years. Every two years a num­ber of stu­dents from the Enjewel team which heads up the school’s fundrais­ing in order to gather together as much money as they can for the Aids Orphan­age in Goa, India. This year the stu­dents, all year 10 pupils from King Ethel­bert, have raised a stag­ger­ing £30,000 to present to the orphan­age in India to try to give these chil­dren some­thing to make their lives hap­pier and more ful­filled. Over the years Pat has raised nearly £200,000 and has taken over 50 stu­dents from King Ethel­bert to visit these chil­dren and to make a dif­fer­ence to their lives. It is thanks to Pat’s fundrais­ing activ­i­ties that there is now an exten­sion on the orphan­age which bears the plaque ‘With thanks to our friends at King Ethel­bert, Birch­ing­ton, Thanet, Eng­land.’ Pat and his Enjewel teams raise the money by car­ry­ing out a whole range of fundrais­ing activ­i­ties includ­ing zoomba classes, bike rides, jum­ble sales, raf­fles, spon­sored events and any other event that brings the peo­ple of Thanet together to raise money for this wor­thy cause.
‘The chil­dren in the AIDS orphan­age in Goa have so lit­tle and not only do we give them some money to make their lives just a bit bet­ter, we also make friends with them and com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­larly with let­ters exchanged through­out the two years between vis­its’ said Kate Greig, head­teacher, who is fully behind the Enjewel project and is delighted that Pat received this pres­ti­gious award to cel­e­brate all that he has done for both the com­mu­nity of Goa and the com­mu­nity of Thanet. ‘Our stu­dents really change once they have been over to India to see how lit­tle some peo­ple have. I remem­ber the stu­dents tak­ing £1.00 plas­tic fans over to use in the heat and the chil­dren in India were so amazed and delighted by them that there were soon handed over – it was noth­ing to our stu­dents but every­thing to these chil­dren who were thrilled with these gifts. All the stu­dents who visit come back know­ing that they are very lucky and even more deter­mined to make the most of their own lives.’
There have been many gen­er­ous peo­ple in Birch­ing­ton out­side the school from par­ents and friends of the school to West­gate Golf Club and the Rotary Club and many more who have given time and money to help the fundrais­ing for Enjewel and it is Pat Buckley’s efforts which have made all this happen.
Pat Buck­ley is very well known in the local com­mu­nity. He taught at King Ethel­bert for so long that many peo­ple liv­ing in the local area know him and all of them can­not speak highly enough of this unique and very spe­cial man. Since retir­ing two years ago, Pat has not only car­ried on lead­ing the Enjewel project, he also vol­un­teers at King Ethel­bert men­tor­ing stu­dents and work­ing with young peo­ple to make sure they make the most of their oppor­tu­ni­ties and develop con­fi­dence in them­selves. ‘We always say at King Ethel­bert that we want every­one to be happy and suc­cess­ful and Pat is still such an impor­tant part of the school team that helps make this hap­pen. He cares so much about the stu­dents and will give any amount of time and energy to make sure they suc­ceed. He sees the best in every­one and will give what­ever it takes to make everyone’s life bet­ter – chil­dren in Goa and in dif­fer­ent ways the chil­dren in Thanet.’ says Kate Greig, ‘I have never met any­one like him. He is hugely pop­u­lar with every­one and his humour, warmth, loy­alty and tenac­ity are recog­nised and val­ued by us all. He thor­oughly deserves this award and all our staff, stu­dents and par­ents are delighted for him. He should be recog­nised for every­thing he gives to oth­ers – he is a unique and incred­i­bly spe­cial man. ‘
Pat was over­whelmed at get­ting the award. He was nom­i­nated by Mor­gan Simpson-​Smith, one of the Enjew­ell team who knew that he should indeed be a Pride of Britain. Mor­gan said, ‘I nom­i­nated Mr Buck­ley because he is hard work­ing and he has changed so many people’s lives.’ She was thrilled when the judges decided to give him the award. In a typ­i­cal Pat Buck­ley way he tried to pass the thanks and hon­our on to oth­ers but this time it is about Pat Buck­ley – the extra­or­di­nary fundraiser with the extra­or­di­nary heart. Mia Crow, one of the Enjewel project stu­dents said ‘Mr Buck­ley is an extra­or­di­nary man, he sup­ports this amaz­ing project and with our school work. When he got his award he saw it as a team effort, not him­self.’ Another Enjewel stu­dent, Levi Harker-​Durmush said ’Mr Buck­ley is the most com­mit­ted man I have ever met, he has put every­thing he pos­si­bly can into help­ing others.’
Pat will be going to Lon­don to be on the national tele­vised pro­gramme The Pride of Britain Awards where famous celebri­ties will hon­our him for all he has given – and quite right too.
Enjewel stu­dents:
Elly Brad­shaw
Sophie Brinkman
Mia Crow
Amie Green
Levi Harker-​Durmush
Maisie Har­ris
Phoenix Hart
Mil­lie Myhill
Tabitha Ray­monde
Mor­gan Simpson-​Smith
Maisie Waller
Abbie Zanetti