Vice-Principal Brands Charity Fund-Raising Pyjama Day A 'Paedophile's Paradise'

A school has apologised to a children's cancer charity after the vice principal branded its sponsored pyjama day a 'paedophile's paradise'.

Chelsea's Angels, which helps children diagnosed with neuroblastoma and other rare cancers, had emailed schools in Northamptonshire inviting them to take part in the event - which would see pupils attending lessons in pyjamas and nighties - as a fun way to raise money.

But the charity was stunned to receive a reply from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby which implied the fundraiser could encourage paedophiles.

Vice principal Mark Willimott had intended to forward the charity's invite - along with his critical comments - to a colleague, but inadvertently copied the e-mail to Chelsea's Angels co-founder Michelle Tompkins too.

Mr Willimott had written: "AM I MISSING SOMETHING??? FYI although are they aiming for a paedophile's paradise????"

The teacher had added: "Loads of kids walking to school in pyjamas?", followed by a string of question marks.

Chelsea's Angels was set up by the parents Chelsea Knighton, who suffered with aggressive neuroblastoma and died aged just three in August 2009. The charity had hoped to raise thousands of pounds by encouraging schools and colleges to take part in its sponsored pyjama day tomorrow.

Event organiser Michelle Tompkins, who sent out the invitation to Brooke Weston, said:


I was angry when I got the email. It wasn't like we were asking children to come in in their underwear.


Michelle said Chelsea's Angels had run sponsored pyjama days several times in the past to raise funds.

"The headteacher was very apologetic on the phone but I have still heard nothing from the man himself."

In a statement to the local paper, Principal Trish Stringer said: "This was a private, internal email which was sent to the charity inadvertently. This was regrettable and I have apologised to the charity personally and also discussed the issue with the member of staff.

"We have offered to hold a mufti day to raise funds that will generate in excess of £1,000.

"However we do not support pyjama days, primarily because we do not think it appropriate for students to come to school in night attire.

"We constantly reinforce the message that they should stay safe, both online and in the real world, and we are confident that our staff and parents understand and support this view.

"Over the past few years Brooke Weston Academy has raised thousands of pounds for charity in a variety of innovative ways, from Christmas markets, car washes, sports events, auctions, sponsored silences and mufti days.

"We are particularly supportive of cancer charities and have already raised £16,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, as well as funds for Myeloma UK. Therefore we look forward to presenting Chelsea's Angels with a charity cheque as we appreciate the important work that they carry out."