On a wet and windy Friday morning the stage was set for Steyning Grammar School's annual charity fundraiser; Jailbreak. Year thirteen students prepared themselves with ponchos or simply braved the conditions and ran through the school coach park, collecting donations before reaching their vehicles. These vehicles ranged from tractors to a double-decker bus; providing varying amount of coverage from the weather. They soon set about spreading across West Sussex in order to raise more funds.

Peter Russell, a year thirteen student who spoke to me about his experience summarised the process as the students "dress[ing] up in costumes based on their chosen theme[s]" and "fundraising in various locations"; before finally they "converge on Horsham to be 'recaptured'" and have their funds collected’. For Jailbreak 2018, the fundraising was done in support of the NSPCC, "specifically its operations within West Sussex", Russell notes. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children describes itself as the Uk’s leading children's charity in preventing abuse and helping those in recovery. An appropriate and important charity for the school to support.

Russell's personal experience of the Jailbreak revolved mostly around his groups chosen costume theme, zoo animals; which eventually morphed into a broad "safari rangers or zookeeper" theme. The origin of the idea to pursue this theme Russell revealed was that "one group member happened to already own a particularly good ape costume, and we wanted to find something that could accommodate that". His groups 'float', a trailer attached to the back of a tractor, was similarly themed sporting shrubbery and bamboo plants.

Finaly, when asked what he thought differentiated Jailbreak from other charity events put on by the school, Russell stated that it was "different because of the scale mostly, it’s so much bigger [than other events]". Steyning Grammar School has charity events all year round including participating in Movember for men's health issues and Pink Day in aid of Breast Cancer awareness; however Jailbreak consistently proves to be one of it’s most successful each year. This year, year thirteen raised over four thousand pounds for the NSPCC through Jailbreak. 

Words and accompanying photos by Benjamin Jesse, Steyning Grammar School (Sixth Form)

Interview statements permission of use provided by Peter Russell