Hey Jude, when it comes to your dad, he’s really a cut above.
Coleraine taxi-driver Mo Watton was a very proud man at DH Christie Primary School last Monday morning when he presented the school with a magnificent cheque for £3,110.40.
Mo’s autistic eight-year-old son, Jude, who is a pupil in the school’s Learning Support Unit, was among those who attended a special assembly where Mo handed over the fantastic sum.
“The money will be used by the Unit to help all the pupils,” a delighted Mo told The Coleraine Times.
“I can’t thank the teachers of the Unit enough for all they have done for Jude.
“I want to thank everyone for their generosity and for the school in allowing me to raise the money for them.
“The change we’ve seen in Jude since he joined the Unit has been amazing and it has exceeded all our expectations.”
The Windyhall man grew his hair and beard for a year and collected donations from last November.
He finally had his hair shaved during a bucket collection at Coleraine Showgrounds, where Mo volunteers as a turnstile operator, on December 17.
Handing over the money to the school, Mo thanked the Board and chairman of Coleraine FC; the Orange Order; Royal Black Perceptory, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, family and friends and members of the public who contributed.
“I originally set a target of about £1,500 so Im delighted for everyone.”
It’s not the first time Mo has raised money for the Ballycairn Road school.
In 2015 he urged Ballyrashane Flute Band and Lodge to nominate the Learning Support Unit as their charity of the year and a darts competition and quiz sheet fundraiser raised £909.
The Christie unit works with children who suffer from a range of learning difficulties, including autism, ADHD, Asperger’s as well as those with physical disabilities.
Twenty youngsters attend Learning Support Unit 1 and 2 and are taught by Catherine Keys, Elaine McNally and Melanie Stewart.
Mo told the Times last year: “Since Jude start in September 2013 he has benefited greatly not only educationally but also mentally, physically and socially. The difference it has made, and continues to make to his life is exceptional.”
Catherine Keys said: “We are so very grateful for the support Mo has given us right from Year 1, he has always backed what we do in Learning Support.
“He has gone over and above the call of duty for us and the children are so excited about what he has done.
“We have nothing but real gratitude to him.
“He is so complimentary about our Unit and says he finds it to be a very safe and caring environment.”
Catherine added that the funds raised will be used for the educational and social development of children in the two classes.
“We like to take the children on as many trips as possible - places like farms or cafes - both as a learning exercise and to help their social skills.”
Thanking Mo, Principal Peter Henry said: “Our goal is to develop independent, motivated life-long learners.
“This includes all members of our school community – both children and adults. To this end we will constantly strive to improve our own performance and that of every child in our care.
“We will provide access to a broad and balanced curriculum taking into consideration the individual preferred learning styles of the children.
“We will match provision to need using resources and teaching strategies effectively.
“We aim to support the development of our children and ourselves as individuals by promoting - Creativity; Honesty; Responsibility; Self-discipline; Kindness; Respect and Co-operation.”
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