November has been Movember at the Prep and we have been trying to raise funds and awareness for men’s mental health.
Our flagship event for this was H2Mo, a 24 hour swimming challenge. Judging by the numbers alone, there is a lot the Dulwich Prep community can be hugely proud of: we have raised over £14,000, which at time of writing is more than any of the 400 or so schools that took part; we reached 4th best fundraising team in the UK and 55th in the world, and we had over 470 swimmers taking part in the event itself. So a heartfelt thank you to all who supported, for your generosity and encouragement; it means an enormous amount.
It is also not the whole picture. Those who took part spoke at least as much about the feeling of the event as the facts and figures. Who swam? In no particular order, there were: lanes with 3 generations of the same family; mums, sisters, brothers and dads; Old Boys, young and old; teachers, groundstaff and assistant bursars, volunteers from the Movember foundation and a world champion para swimmer training alongside 8- and 9-year olds. Who encouraged? There were generous donations from Thomas Franks, our caterers, and from Bunny Chow, Mr Gardner’s Herne Hill market food-stall; Twitter shout outs and encouragement from celebrities; and there was karaoke through the night to keep the spirits up and friends and families of the swimmers lined the pool throughout. And so how did it feel? There was laughter over hot drinks and hot dogs for those who had finished; there were fist-pumps and slurps of hot chocolate for the bleary-eyed boys who swam through the night – as one young boy beaming proudly said “I’ve done something to help someone!”; and as one mother said, “Thank you. It is so lovely to have the chance to try to do such good.”
Last year, a Year 8 boy put it well. He said he thought that schools should try to do more things that mean things. H2Mo has been an effort to honour that sentiment. We’re more than a little astonished at the funds raised, and so again, thank you for your generosity. We hope, too, that as well as the facts and figures, the boys involved will remember the feeling. They teamed up, they challenged themselves to do something exceptional in a good cause, and as a result a whole community cheerfully rallied behind them.”