A FUNDRAISING campaign to raise money to buy a pirate ship for St Francis School in Falmouth in memory of a young girl who died a year ago, has almost reached the £11,000 mark.

Chloe Edwards had been a pupil at the school when she lost her battle against cancer last January, aged just eight. In the months following her death her fellow pupils decided they wanted to do something that would create a lasting memorial to their friend.

As a result, last spring the Pirate Ship for a Princess campaign was launched and friends, family and school staff began organising events to raise the £30,000 needed. Money gradually began to come in with the campaign receiving a particular boost over the Christmas period.

The Holman Climax Choir donated £320 from two performances, Penryn’s Methodist and Highway churches gave £100 as did Budock Church. A new year’s eve party brought in another £700 and a collection at Falmouth’s Christmas fancy dress parade raised £165. Further donations came from Falmouth Wheelers, councillor Steve Eva and year two pupil Silas Fuller who won £100 in the school Christmas raffle and promptly gave it to the appeal.

Last Thursday, Bernadette Snow, a community life champion from Asda in Penryn, visited the school to hand over a cheque for £200 from its “chosen by you, given by us” fund. Shoppers at Asda had picked the pirate ship campaign as their chosen good cause for December.

The biggest charity event so far took place at the St Michael’s Hotel on Friday night when a further £2,500 was raised, mostly from an auction of lots donated by local businesses and individuals.

Teacher Nicky Sutton, who is chairman of the Pirate Ship for a Princess committee, said: “Friday’s event has boosted the fund massively. We have also had loads of donations come in in the last week. The total currently stands at £10,717.15 which is brilliant.

“This is also a great time to get the support of people like Asda as it’s just been the first anniversary of Chloe’s death, on January 3. This week we have had sessions with her whole class, talking about Chloe and remembering her.

“They have coped really, really well and it helps that Chloe’s mum (Nicola) has been so positive and so involved with the committee and all the |events. She is such a positive person and that has influenced the way the children have coped with |it.”

The hope is that the £30,000 target will be reached in time to get the pirate ship installed by the summer of 2014. “We want to have the boat by the time Chloe’s classmates leave the school,” said Miss Sutton. “They are now in year five so we have got about a year to try and get the whole amount.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about the campaign should visit its Facebook page, called Pirate Ship for a Princess, or call the school.