Sixth-form students at a Kingsbridge college have come up with novel ways to fundraise as part of a unique school project.

Some 140 year 12 students from Kingsbridge Community College were given a 'charity challenge' in which they were asked to pick a charity and independently fundraise for it.

Divided into seven groups, the students put their thinking caps on and raised just over £1,000. Last week they received much deserved praise for their efforts during a formal presentation at the school.

Among the more unusual fundraising ideas was a marathon and a 1,000-kilometre cycle run, in addition to raffles, Christmas card design and cake sales.

There was also a more serious side to the project, as many students raised money for cancer charities and mental wellbeing associations.

One such group raised £120 for cancer research by coming to school in their pyjamas. Student Ben Woodman said: “A lot of people in our year have been affected by cancer, so we thought it was appropriate to choose this charity.”

The view was echoed by Rain, who revealed that her own family had been affected by the disease.

“My granddad died of cancer and my nan suffered from the disease, too,” she said.

Sophie and Francesca arranged a themed bake for The Wave Project, a charity dedicated to improving children's mental wellbeing through the use of surf therapy.

Francesca said: “It gets people in the water and gets them to socialise and out of their comfort zone, which is really important. After lockdown a lot of young people struggled to get out.”

The environment was also uppermost in the mind of Sam Trowell, whose group held a raffle for Surfers Against Sewage. “Sewage affects us largely in the area because everybody likes to go to the beach,” he said.

Cate and Jude meanwhile did a sponsored cycle run for Rowcroft Hospice, stressing that end-of-life care “is not talked about enough”.

With the help of 18 other volunteers, they cycled a total of 1,000 kilometres (albeit partly on exercise bikes).

They also had to learn how to use portable credit card readers, proving that being tech-savvy is just as important for fundraising as it is for running a business.

Isla, Izzy and their class ran a marathon to raise £518 for Suicide Prevention UK, and even got Plymouth Argyle to sponsor them.

Jude said: “Even though it’s the biggest killer in the UK for our age group, suicide is still not talked about.”

Assistant director Maria Aldworth-Jones said the fundraising exercise was also good for developing team skills. “It forces them to work together and brainstorm all of their ideas. For some of them it meant going out of their comfort zones, just doing things they wouldn’t normally have done,” she said, adding that she would like to see the project grow and involve more local charities in future.

Students have expressed somewhat more ambitious fundraising ideas for next year, such as doing a sponsored skydive. That would be quite a jump from cake baking.