Wensleydale School receives donation from charity set up following death of former pupil

Charity founders James and Sally Bethell.

The Jessica Bethel Foundation has donated money to The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form for counselling services and equipment as part of its efforts to support young people in the area.

The charity donated £6,000 to the school which will help the most vulnerable students, providing six weeks’ worth of one-to-one support.

The school was one of three in the region to receive funds from the charity.

They were also given money for laptops which will still be beneficial after the students return next week.

The Middleham-based charity supports local causes and research into meningitis and was set up in memory of Jessica Bethell who tragically and suddenly lost her life to the disease in 2012 at 24.

Headteacher Julia Polley said: “We are very grateful for the support offered by the Jessica Bethell Foundation.

“The money donated has allowed us to support young people with both their academic studies and mental health during the unprecedented pandemic.

“It is humbling that from such a tragedy, young people in our community will get the support they need to thrive and develop.

“We will continue to work with the foundation to raise awareness of meningitis and I will be talking with our Senior Student Leader team after Easter to see how we can do this. Our heartfelt thanks go to Sally, James and Lady Brittan for their generosity.”

Charity founders James and Sally Bethell, Jessica’s parents, specifically wanted to give money to schools, following a donation from Lady Brittan who requested it be spent on educational causes.

Sally said: “Jessica spent some time at The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form, so we knew we wanted to support the school, then when covid happened we realised there were some specific needs.”

James added: “While our primary purpose is to raise money for meningitis, we have donated money to local causes included the Marrick Outdoors Centre.

“We work with young people regularly at our riding school and therefore understand their needs, so this has also been a key area for us.”

You can find out more about the charity here: https://www.jessicabethellfoundation.co.uk