A SCHOOL community has raised an impressive £19,000 to support a medical mission in Africa.

St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon raised the cash with a packed calendar of fundraising events last year, all in aid of the charity Mercy Ships.

The global charity uses hospital ships to deliver free medical care to some of the world's poorest countries.

Christine Brown, community partnership manager at Mercy Ships, said: "This fundraising will make such a difference to transforming lives in Africa.

"So far in Guinea we have performed over 1,160 surgeries and our dental team has treated over 4,000 patients.

"This work is only made possible by the wonderful people who volunteer on the ship and by the generosity of schools like St Helen’s who have joined the Mercy Ships family.”

The sixth form charity representatives clubbed together on the morning of the cheque handover to donate £25, tipping the previous £18,975 total to £19,000.

Headmistress Rebecca Dougall thanked Mercy Ships, adding: "Fundraising for charities teaches students valuable lessons in humanity and respect.

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to support Mercy Ships this year."

Each spring St Helen's takes a whole school vote to chose a cause to fundraise for that year.

Efforts in 2018 included an Easter egg hunt, staff running the London Marathon, a sponsored cycle ride to Paris, a sponsored Park Run, a charity dinner, fireworks ball organised by the PTA and the school's traditional St Kate's Day celebrations.