FOR pupils and teachers at Alva Academy, 2017 was a spectacular year which saw the school reach a massive fundraising milestone.

They pulled together and organised a range of activities to collect around £41,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support – a cause they are long-time supporters of.

In fact, the running total has now reached more than a quarter of a million pounds, which places the school at the top of the table of donors to the charity.

Fundraising for the organisation, which includes a massive coffee morning, amongst other things, has become the flagship event for the academy since it began in 2003.

Those involved dedicate the last part of August and nearly the whole of September to the drive.

And the school community was recognised for its incredible efforts when it received a plaque from Macmillan, which is now proudly displayed in the foyer.

Teacher David Clifford is one of the staff on the fundraising committee which supports the youngsters in their efforts each year, alongside wife Kirsty and Shiona Finn.

He said: "It almost beggars belief, to be honest; I mean a quarter of a million pounds, as soon as you use that phrase million, it's incredible.

"But it's such a worthwhile cause and every single pupil, parent, member of the community working together to achieve it just makes it that bit more special.

"It initially started as an S6 event so they put on a coffee morning and from there it's just sort of spiralled, and now we have S1 to S6 doing sponsored events, doing bake sales and various things.

"And obviously, it's much more of a community event now and a whole school event, partly because of the skills that the pupils develop while they are actually fundraising, so it actually does a lot more than just raise valuable funds."

Those involved have the opportunity to pick up practical experience for their CVs and working lives.

Mr Clifford added: "A lot of the skills they have will set them up for life when it comes to jobs, going to university, working together, everything – problem solving, communication, confidence.

"And plus a lot of them now, also receive an additional accreditation so they can actually work towards other qualifications."

The school pupils are heavily involved in all aspects of the fundraising – with the top team playing a huge part.

Head boy Joe Driver has taken on a leadership role and has been busy supervising activities and setting-up social media.

He has echoed Mr Clifford's views, that there is a lot for the students to gain through being involved in the Macmillan drive.

He said: "So a lot of pupils at our school maybe don't gain amazing academic qualifications; something I think they're very keen to do is get work experience.

"There's also courses and stuff at this school, that help people get into the world of work and it's something that really helps them as well.

"They get to handle finance, experience talking to people, talking to the public, communicating, and for a lot of pupils that's brilliant and could be part of what they want to do in the future as well."