School

Scarlett Sykes: Gordonstoun Pupil who Raised Brain Tumour Research Funds to Memorize her Stepfather

Scarlett Sykes, from Restalrig, Edinburgh, said:

Gordonstoun is such a special place, and it’s a dream to go there, and I’m in the process of applying.

I wanted to fundraise in memory of my stepdad.

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He died at the age of forty-seven of a brain tumour, and although the disease was not directly caused by exercise, it was the trigger.

“We did not have a mobile phone back then, so my mum had to call him to find out if he was coming home for a holiday.”

Sykes was able to enlist the support of fellow pupils, parents, and Gordonstoun staff, and she raised £3000 to contribute to Brain Tumour Research’s research programme.

She added: “It has so far been a family effort, and the school has been supportive too.

The sum has been set at a national level by NHS England to increase “research into how we can tackle brain tumours.”

The event’s inspiration came from her stepfather, Paul. Malcolm, forty-six, from Stonehaven, was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.

Malcolm met Sykes’ mother, Rachel, when he was a pupil at Gordonstoun School and was her rugby coach for five years.

Sykes, a keen runner, decided to step up the fundraising efforts for Brain Tumour Research in honour of Malcolm, as he used to run daily in memory of his father.

Before he died, Sykes and other Gordonstoun pupils delivered thank-you letters and cards to her stepfather’s former headmaster.

The avid rugby player-led Scotland to the Baskerville Shield at the 1997 U18s and U20s age groups.

Of her fundraising, Sykes said: “I set myself a target of £500.

But it went way beyond that – the public jumped on board with donations.

“The friends I made at the event have all been supportive, and the main reason I did it was to raise money for the charity because I know how awful it feels to have a brain tumour.”

Within six weeks, he had raised £500 to take a group of pupils to Cardiff for the OneWave One World fundraiser. Sykes died after a five-year battle against a brain tumour.

“I have wanted to run for Brain Tumour Research in memory of Paul for a long time,” Sykes told the Daily Express. The charity is asking for more investment in research into brain tumours.

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