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Musician Myleene Klass and Olympic star Sally Gunnell launch Channing School fundraising bid

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 April 2013 | UPDATED: 18:30 22 April 2013

Myleene Klass with Channing School pupils on the night. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Myleene Klass with Channing School pupils on the night. Picture: Polly Hancock.

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Highgate musician Myleene Klass and Olympic champion Sally Gunnell launched an ambitious £3million fundraising challenge to build a new sports hall and performing arts centre at a prestigious all-girls school.

Sally Gunnell poses with her Olympic gold medal alongside Channing School pupils. Picture: Polly Hancock.Sally Gunnell poses with her Olympic gold medal alongside Channing School pupils. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Channing School, in The Bank, Highgate, called in its celebrity connections to kick-start efforts to plug a £3million gap in funding for the new £11million facilities.

Marks & Spencer model Ms Klass, 35, talked to pupils and parents and performed piano piece For the Love of a Princess, from 1997 film Braveheart, at the event last Thursday.

She was joined by Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Sally Gunnell, 46, in the school hall, which is set to be demolished under the plans.

Addressing pupils and parents, Ms Gunnell said: “I had a very ambitious challenge when I was 14-years-old, I turned around and said ‘I want to win the Olympics’.

“When you’ve got such a massive challenge – getting all this money together – there is nothing wrong with thinking big. It’s a journey you’re on and hopefully the whole school will get their gold medal.”

Ms Klass, who found fame on talent show Popstars in 2001 and has gone on to release a number of albums and clothing lines, talked about the importance of performing arts.

“I’m from the performing arts division and we get such a bad time,” said the mother-of-two. “It’s always just seen as extra-curricular and I find that so frustrating.

“Performing arts gives you such diversity – it gives you such confidence. The new performing arts centre is very important.”

The independent junior and secondary school, which charges up to £4,890 per term, had its plans for the new facilities approved by Haringey Council last April and hopes to have the project completed by 2017.

Work on a new senior school sports hall to replace the existing hall, including excavations to create underground space for more facilities, is due to start next year and is set to be completed by September 2014.

Building work for the performing arts centre, which will host a range of musical and theatrical performances, will then begin in 2015 and should take two years to complete.

Headteacher Barbara Elliott said: “We need to raise some money through our community, as you know we are a charity, and I hope anybody who has anything to do with Channing will get right behind us.

“If 2,000 people gave £10 a month for the next four years, that’s £1million. I think we can do that.”

To discuss making a donation, in confidence, call Channing director of development Helen Tranter on 07725 811 191 or complete the Channing gift form available from the school.


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