30 March 2023  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

If ever proof was needed that the best things come in small packages then here it is!  Students and staff at Kirkby Fleetham CE School, one of the smallest primary schools in North Yorkshire with less than 20 pupils, have won the Smiley Charity National Film Award for their film ‘Watch us Grow’.  The film won the People’s Choice Award for the category under £100,000 turnover, beating some pretty big competition – there were films with Morgan Freeman and Idris Elba in!

The song was written by Kirsti Hume, Deputy Head at the school, after she was inspired by the play tree on the village green which is very much at the heart of the community.  It is a symbol of the life, love, laughter and learning at the wonderful little school.   Through the film, the school is hoping to increase visibility, grow pupil numbers and raise additional funding.

Two of our students and former Kirkby Fleetham pupils took part in the award-winning project – Oscar Pearce, in Year 7, stars in the film and Will Hume, in Year 11, was involved in the song when he was at the school.

Kirsti said: “It was the Friends committee of the school who entered the film into the Smiley Charity Awards. We were astounded to get into the final, and very excited to be invited to a red carpet award ceremony at the Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square. There were lots of celebrities at the event, including AJ and Arlene Philips from Strictly, Sadie Frost, Fayer Winer, Donna Air, Charlotte Hope, and our favourite Jason Watkins from the film Nativity – the storyline from that film rang really true with us. We chatted to Jason at the event and he says he will visit the school. The event was hosted by Tom Allen. All the parents and children were watching the live stream from home.

“The song was professionally recorded at the Hub in Barnard Castle – and it even had a famous drummer play on the track – Rob Yeadon from the band James. We then made a film to go with it – we were literally learning how to use i-movie on the i-pad as we made it! All the children gave their ideas – I think if we knew it was going to go this far we’d have done it very differently, but I think it’s the rawness and innocence that was its appeal in the end!”

“Will attended the ceremony with myself and his sister Nel. It was an incredible experience for him and he has set his sights on London for University and playing his drums in the West End!”

You can find out more about the awards here.

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