RAISING more than £250,000 for charity is no mean feat but for pupils at Alva Academy it's just a by-product of what they are gaining on a personal level.

As the Advertiser reported last week, the school's continued efforts to net cash for Macmillan Cancer Support reached a new high when the running total passed the £250,000 mark with more than £10,000 raised this year already – and the actual 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' event is still to come this Friday.

Youngsters from S6, who take the lead by organising various events each year, always learn new skills, meet new people, develop empathy, forge bonds and grow as people by taking part in the annual fundraiser.

Student Stephannie Davidson conquered the highest mountains in the UK for the charity by taking the Three Peaks Challenge on with dad Robert.

She explained she wanted to be involved because one of her relatives had lost the fight against cancer and said: “My mum's cousin had cancer and I met him earlier this year – he was really optimistic about everything.

“He was trying all these different cures that he had found that were meant to help him.”

Overwhelmed by emotions, she added: “My mum told me he died and I was really upset because of how optimistic he was about it.

“It was a really big shock to me.”

However, she now knows what the support charities like Macmillan provide can mean to those fighting the disease and their families.

In the end, her fundraiser was incredibly successful, netting more than £1,200 for the cause.

Fellow pupil David Morgan has been involved in bag-packs and various events for Macmillan for almost six years now and has also been helping with the organisation of the Day of Dance.

“My nanna and my grandad were both affected by cancer,” he explained to the Advertiser.

“They were both with Macmillan – for me personally, that's one of the reasons why I do it.”

There is more to it – when he was doing a bag-pack at a supermarket a few years ago, a woman told him about her battle.

David said: “It was her fifth time fighting it and she was doing well. It's just good to hear everyone else's stories, it gets you more motivated to help other people and it just makes you feel like you are doing something.”

By organising the events and taking challenges on together, the pupils forge strong bonds and indeed, some even come back to support the effort after leaving school.

For instance, this year, rugby internationalist Adam Ashe will be bringing a signed Scotland strip to the coffee morning.

Student Glenn McKerracher completed the West Highland way in a group of five.

He said: “I think if we did it individually, not one us would have made it through.

“If we did not have each other on the trip, it would have been a hundred times harder.

“We bonded together as a group, we knew each other – a couple of us were close friends – but we made friendships on the trip as well.”

Teacher David Clifford said the youngsters always all work together to organise the event and raise the cash.

He added: “It's that sort of family-oriented approach (the Fundraising Committee) are probably most proud of.

“And it does reflect when it comes to exams, when it comes to doing other events throughout the year, when it comes to the prom or the yearbook.

“That to us means more than everybody doing an individual event.”