25 years of Comic Relief will be celebrated tomorrow as the 2013 Red Nose Day gets underway. Despite the many issues and difficulties facing Wester Hailes, the local community responded generously and enthusiastically to initiatives such as Comic Relief and the history of the event over the years can be traced through the editions of the Sentinel.
In 1988, the year Comic Relief was launched, patients and staff at Sighthill Health Centre raised £46 with a spontaneous event held on the day. By 1991, more local residents had been affected by red nose fever, raising money for Comic Relief with a variety of events and stunts. WHEC students ran a school radio station for the day, broadcasting live to the school, and playing requests for 50p a time. Meanwhile young people on YTS took to the streets in fancy dress to raise money while children at the Wester Hailes Child Care Project held a Hawaiian beach party.
1993 saw all the local schools involved with children being allowed to come to school in fancy dress if they paid 20p. Westburn School went for sponsored silences which raised a quiet £150.
Numerous events were held to raise funds in 1997 including a football tournament where 16 teams battled it out at the Sighthill Pitz. The eventual winners were the WHOT Shop who beat Kristopher’s Hertz 6-5 in the final. Other events went for a fancy dress theme with Sighthill pupils wearing specially made hats for the day. They also held a mini sale and their final total was an impressive £350.
As well as Comic Relief, Wester Hailes took part in numerous other fundraising initiatives. In 1985, as part of the Sentinel’s celebrations to mark its 100 edition, the Sentinel team coordinated fundraising efforts for the Band Aid Ethiopian Appeal. This led to Bob Geldof visiting the WHEC to meet pupils who had raised £675 for the appeal. He was full of praise for their efforts and for what the wider community was doing in response to Band Aid. He said
“Keep going, don’t stop now. To know that people over here care about them and are doing things really helps.”