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A Year 7 student has contributed to a worldwide global effort to raise funds for the World Health Organisation’s response to Coronavirus.

Romanii Elliott and mum Kheira Bamford joined thousands of singers from across the globe – both professional and amateur – to contribute to Judy Collins’ Global Virtual Choir.

Singers were asked to record audio/video of themselves singing along to singer-songwriter Judy’s version of Amazing Grace.

Every person who contributed is featured on a video which can be viewed here:

Alan Cumming, Judith Owen, Steve Earle, Madeleine Peyroux, Mandolin Orange, Tift Merritt are just some of the singers who participated in this Global Virtual Chorus event – plus internationally known choirs including The Sixteen, New York Choral Society and Soweto Gospel Choir.

All proceeds raised from this single will be going to the World Health Organisation Solidarity Response Fund:

Kheira said: “I had an email about the Global Virtual Choir and I knew that Romanii had been looking for something to do. She’d seen on the news about Captain Tom raising money for the NHS so the email came at just the right time.

“We had to learn a line from the song and video ourselves singing it. There were a lot of takes and we had to record it a few times.

“There are so many people on the video that we haven’t been able to spot ourselves but our names are on the credits at the end. The song is also available to buy from Apple and iTunes.

“We were nervous waiting for the video to come out but we were really pleased when we say it. Our part is in the third and fifth verses.

“We haven’t really been able to do anything physically to help so this was the one thing that we could have done.”


A Saint Benedict CVA student and her brother have raised over £1,000 for charity by completing more than 290,000 steps – or around 130 miles – between them in three weeks.

Chloe, 11, and Jack Cheshire, nine, (both pictured below) originally set a target of achieving 3,000 steps between them in 21 days, with the aim of raising £200.

Now the pair have completed the challenge and well and truly beat their goal by racking up 290,498 steps and raising £1,120 – their highest daily steps total was 18,012.

The money raised will go to Doorways Derby, which provides food and clothes to the homeless but is now delivering food packages to those in need.

Chloe and Jack’s mum Michelle Bestwick said that she was incredibly proud.

She said: “When they set out to raise £200 they thought they would struggle to do that because times are hard. They’ve been counting their steps every day for three weeks and they are so pleased with the amount raised; I’m very proud of them, it’s unbelievable really. It was all their own idea, it came from their own minds. Now they are making cards to go with the donations that Doorways will provide. They will be included with a food parcel and hopefully they might just put a little smile on a person’s face.”

Chloe and Jack’s stepdad also took part in the ice bucket challenge to raise an extra £200.

Doorways posted a thankyou to Chloe and Jack on its Facebook page with a video which read:
“Well done and thankyou from everyone at Doorways.”

Mr Gritton said that Chloe and Jack’s effort was incredible.

He said: “Chloe and Jack have really impressed everyone by coming up with this fundraising idea and then by raising such a massive amount of money which will go to help people in need. They should be very proud of themselves.”

Fond memories have been shared of an ex-teacher who worked at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy for more than 20 years.

Peter Statham, who was Head of Biology between 1970 and 1993, recently passed away aged 83.

His career started at Picardy Boys School in Kent before he relocated to Derby in 1965, teaching at John Port School in Etwall.

In 1970 he was appointed Head of Biology at St Ralph Sherwin School before it later became Saint Benedict.

Mr Statham also ran Woodlands Youth Club in Allestree in the 1970s and ‘80s and after retiring from teaching he carried on volunteering with the Scouts, the Church and the Young Offenders programme.

He leaves Margaret, his wife of 59 years, two sons and a daughter and six grandchildren. A date is set to be arranged for a Thanksgiving Service and life celebration.

Mr Statham’s son Phil said his dad enjoyed his time at Saint Benedict and that there had been many kind comments on a memorial page set up on Facebook (

He said: “He enjoyed his teaching career and when you look at some of the comments that ex-pupils have made on his memorial page you can see the kind of respect people had for him. You only get that when it’s a two-way street. There are a lot of great anecdotes on there. When his grandchildren were out with him they always used to say that they couldn’t go anywhere without someone from school or youth club stopping him to chat.”

Mrs Vause, Director of Learning for Science at Saint Benedict CVA, which is part of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, was taught by Mr Statham and also worked with him.

She said: “Pete taught me for both my Biology O-level and A-level. When I returned to teach at Saint Benedict, I taught alongside him within the Science dept, in particular in teaching A level Biology. Pete’s enthusiasm for Biology was infectious. Lessons were brought to life by his story-telling and knowledge of natural history.  The lab cupboards were full of jars of various biological specimens, including his own appendix.  I am afraid I chose not to keep most of them! All of those who were taught by him or alongside him will remember Pete as a very kind man; always seeing the best in people, encouraging and generous with his time.”

Ex-student James Allen said Mr Statham was well liked among students.

He said: “I was very sad to hear about Mr Statham’s death. I have got good memories of his Biology lessons in the South Block labs. He was a very enthusiastic and passionate teacher and always got his point across in a good humoured way. You could have a bit of a laugh with him but he made sure you stayed on track. He made Science enjoyable.”

A support worker at Saint Benedict CVA has launched a new mental health and wellbeing support group with a video featuring a range of famous sporting faces.

Amateur boxer Sandy Ryan and former Derby County player Igor Stimac are among those who appear in the video created by Sean Hedley to promote his new support group, which is called Isolated Minds.

Sean retrained and achieved qualifications in mental health and safeguarding before taking on the role of support officer at Saint Benedict in the weeks before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK.

He used to work for Derby County Football Club, where he was instrumental in setting up a mental health support group for men called Team Talk.

Sean said: “I have done quite a bit of work in mental health since I left Derby County, people have been saying to me that I should set something else up and I always planned to do that. Since everything that’s happened with Coronavirus, this seemed like the right time.

“I’ve set up the group on Facebook and Twitter and I came up with the idea of doing a video with well known people in it. It was quite hard to organise. I managed to get quite a few people on board and posted it on Facebook where it has had about 3,000 views so far; it’s had about 4,000 views on Twitter. It could be up to 10 times that much though because some of the people who were in it have also shared it themselves. I’m really pleased with how it’s been received.”

Sean has plenty of plans in the pipeline for Isolated Minds and he would also like to run something similar that would be particularly aimed at young people.

He said: “Ideally, when lockdown is over I’d like to organise some walk-in sessions for Isolated Minds and I’ve got lots of ideas; I’d also like to do a podcast. When I was involved with Team Talk we had a games room and we’d have tea and coffee and sit and have a chat. That group was for men and Isolated Minds is for men and women.

“The group meetings wouldn’t be too structured, they would just be a chance to have a chat and find out how other people deal with issues that you might be going through. I’ve had quite a few messages from people since I launched the group, just talking about what they are struggling with at the moment.

“I’d like to look at a similar kind of concept for children and see if we could get some sports stars to reach out to them.”