Greenwood Primary & Nursery School pupil wins competition held by Leon’s Legacy charity

Pupils learn about heart health by dissecting pig hearts and raise £715 for the charity!

Year 6 Greenwood Primary & Nursery School pupil, Athena Ashford, has won her school a cabinet for their Leon’s Legacy defibrillator in a competition run for school children. Not only that, but fellow pupil Oliver Parkin (Year 6), came in 3rd place too!

The cabinet was presented by Holly Younger, a Cardiac Nurse by profession and the Chairperson for Leon’s Legacy. She explained that the charity aims to install defibrillators in schools across the region to better the survival chances of those suffering a cardiac arrest. The charity was originally set up in memory of her own father Leon who himself suffered a cardiac arrest at work and sadly lost his life.

Holly explained her visit. “This school was the third school we gave a defibrillator to. But today I am here because we ran a competition for our charity’s 1st birthday to win an indoor cabinet, which was kindly donated by Mansfield Hockey Club. The children could write poems, create a poster or a picture, anything to demonstrate why defibrillators and CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) are important. We received lots of entries and Greenwood children came in 1st and 3rd place!”

Before Holly’s visit, Year 6 children at the school studied ‘Pig Heart Boy’, a fictional story set in the future about a child in need of a heart transplant and facing the news that there are no human hearts available. After being contacted by a controversial doctor offering a pig heart transplant, children follow the story of the boy’s life through the operation and after, learning about the body, heart, and circulatory system along the way.

So, tying all of this newfound knowledge together, the school organised a special lesson hosted by Holly, where children were able to examine 30 pig hearts to understand how the heart functions, and to learn the names of the different parts of the heart .

Holly said that the lesson was designed to be informative and memorable. “The children have been looking at healthy hearts and how to look after them and so, although this is a little bit different for me, I am more than happy to help!”

Pupil Athena Ashford who won the charity’s competition with her poster said she thought the day would be an extra special experience. “I'm so happy, especially knowing that two children from the same class in Greenwood have won goody bags and a fabulous cabinet for the school. I'm so happy!” Athena said she did a lot of research for her entry. “To find the facts that I used on my poster I looked online and made sure that the facts I included were all current to 2020 advice. I definitely think my family will be proud of me. It is kind of exciting and kind of gross at the same time to look at the pig hearts in class. But I think I will remember it forever. Maybe for children who are a bit squeamish it will be difficult but honestly, I think this is a very good experience!”

Oliver Parkin, Year 6 saw his entry get 3rd place and said, “I am very shocked that out of all of the entries that I came 3rd . I wrote a poem called my CPR poem. I did a bit of research to create it. I feel quite nervous about dissecting the pig’s heart, but I do want to see how they work.”

Head Teacher Kim Tucker said the school wanted to support the charity. “We are very proud of the children and the cause has really captured their imagination. They were very eager to do their own work on creating a piece to enter the competition and by linking this with their lessons and the opportunity to examine the pig hearts, we hope to make our learning memorable!

“As part of our commitment to this worthwhile charity, when we got our AED (Automated External Defibrillator) we decided to hold a ‘Happy Hearts Day’ every Valentine's Day so that we could help other schools to get the same life giving machine we have. Children donated £1 to wear non uniform and we also held a cake and biscuit sale. All money will go to Leon's Legacy and we are happy to say that the total we raised was a whopping £715, allowing us to pay for defibrillator 22 and for half the cost of the 23rd defibrillator for the charity too.

“I would like to personally thank the amazing Greenwood school community who never fail to rally to the school’s request for support, and they simply continue to outdo and amaze us all with their generosity.”

Photograph: Greenwood Primary & Nursery School children Oliver Parkin and Athena Ashford with Holly Younger (centre) and the new cabinet for the school’s defibrillator.

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