You may remember earlier this year we promoted involvement in RunForHeroes, a campaign set up by three former pupils led by Olivia Strong with the support of her friends India Pappalardo-Strachan and Alice Taylor. Their plan was to raise funds for NHS Charities.  The initiative ended up raising the absolutely staggering sum of over £6.4 million with a host of celebrity involvement across the world.  Olivia was recently awarded an MBE for Services to Fundraising during the Covid-19 lockdown and we couldn’t be more pleased for her!

This got us thinking about all the other amazing things the ESMS Community did during lockdown to support the wider world in so many ways.  We thought we would put together a list of everything we heard about in order to recognise just how hard our community worked for the benefit of others at a really difficult and challenging time: 

Former Pupils

  • 2011 SMC leaver Calum Lavery challenged himself to run the tough Edinburgh Marathon route with only one month of previous training, to raise funds for SAMH. Mental health has been at the forefront of concerns during lockdown, and it seems that the single most effective gesture people could make to improve their own outlook was to get out for a walk or run. Calum ran the marathon on August 15, with a time of 3h47min, and has raised over £5,000 for SAMH to date. He has not stopped running since!
  • ESMS staff member and 2016 leaver Matthew Beaton manufactured some of the components for protective visors in his home using one of the SMC printers, in a joint project with the South Queensferry 3D Printing Collective.
  • In the USA, 1983 SMC leaver Andrew Gillespie contributed to the production of face-shields using his Ender printers.

 Current Pupils

  • The Dey family started a fundraising initiative called ‘Dress Up and Dine In’ to benefit the Trussell Trust. They have so far raised almost £2,100 which will help to support food banks across the UK. 
  • Scarlett H (S2) was one of the volunteers who kept Starbank Park looking beautiful through lockdown, as the restrictions prevented the Council from maintaining the gardens.
  • Cara (P6), Nathan (P4) and their family decided to join the Virtual Etape Caledonia Challenge in May, committing to cycling 85 miles each in support of both the NHS and Marie Curie Scotland. By the end of the month, the family successfully reached their target mileage and raised a total of £435.
  • Evan S (S6) spent his time in lockdown designing a less intimidating, child-friendly hand sanitiser station for use in public spaces such as schools. This has recently gone into production with Livingreen Design. 
  • Eliza (S4) set up a very successful charity bookshop in Murrayfield. The shop, which ran between June and September, collected donated books and then sold them on, raising over £5,000 for local charities.
  • Chloe (S1) and Calum (P6) used their Easter holidays to help raise money for vital PPE to protect key workers during the early weeks of the crisis.  Chloe and Calum initially wrote a story called “Bob’s Problem” for their little cousins about a red squirrel that they visit on their yearly holiday to the Highlands with their grandparents. After receiving requests for copies of the story from their Grandma’s friends, they decided to share the story in return for donations to the Penicuik Printing Team, who were printing face shields for key workers. At the time we were told of their initiative, their story had raised £150, enough funds to create 57 protective face shields.
  • Equally inspired, another school family produced an incredible 100 face shields in just 6 days after Robert (S3) used his coding skills to set up their 3D printer at home
  • Despite this year’s P7 Challenge being cancelled, Luke M decided to cover the 56-mile distance at home instead. 318 laps of his garden, 3 x 10km runs and a total of 125,703 steps later, Luke managed to complete the challenge and raise over £2,800 for Future Hope India. 
  • With food banks facing record demands, Ellie V (S3) ran the ‘500k in 80 days’ challenge, raising over £700 for the Edinburgh North East Foodbank, a charity that provides emergency food boxes for vulnerable people in the Leith area.
  • The Hamilton family raised over £1,700 for Médecins Sans Frontières by running over 250 miles in 2 weeks. The money went towards the organisation’s Coronavirus response coordination.
  • Back in May, Emily G. (S2) ran a half marathon almost entirely in her back garden, raising over £300 for NHS Lothian.
  • The Stops family have been working with David Roxburgh, ESMS’s Boarding Housemaster, to mobilise their neighbours, including SMC receptionist Lesley Johnson, to donate food to their local food bank.  Samuel (S6) and Libby (S3) delivered carloads of food to the Community One Stop Shop in Broomhouse as well as to other amazing grassroots organisations.
  • Over 100 children currently at ESMS answered an appeal for pen pals for our elderly, isolated alumni. We are sure many wonderful friendships were formed along the way.
  • Matteo Morbiato (S1) volunteered to support a local food bank alongside his Mum; he delivered fresh bread and organised its distribution to vulnerable groups in the community, including elderly people who were self-isolating
  • Harry S-J (S5) visited his local care home from a distance with his Therapet dog, Malcolm, and pet tortoise, Hermann, to lift the residents’ spirits. Hermann was so popular that he ended up on a grand tour to meet all the residents!


  • Back in April, MES Biology teacher, Mrs Horrix, delivered over 300 pairs of the school’s science goggles, several boxes of gowns, disposable gloves and also additional toiletries from her own home to help key workers at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
  • Head of Home Economics Mrs Campbell responded to an urgent request for scrubs by sourcing fabric and putting together uniforms for former NHS staff who volunteered to return to work at the peak of the crisis.
  • SMC PE teacher Mr Beharrell set himself the enormous challenge of completing 500km on his rowing machine at home in just 10 days to help raise money to support five different initiatives linked with Covid-19. He managed to double his initial fundraising target and raised almost £1,100.
  • Nursery teachers walked throughout Edinburgh to distribute symbolic packets of flower seeds to the Nursery children who ‘graduated’ to P1 during lockdown. There were bluebells,  poppies,  primroses and thistles galore. Our teachers, like every member of our community, certainly went above and beyond in caring for our collective wellbeing.

Many of our community members took to their streets during the Clap for Carers campaign to play instruments for isolated neighbours; the iconic school buildings were lit in blue and rainbow colours on several occasions in appreciation of the efforts of the many unsung heroes in key worker positions during the crisis.

…and it’s not Final Curtains on this yet. But we would like our whole community to take a bow and keep caring, helping, creating, loving! Well done ESMS!

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