Gants Hill boy’s mission to tidy up school’s play area

PUBLISHED: 18:28 01 July 2016 | UPDATED: 18:34 01 July 2016

Thersan Ganalingham, 14, Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award nominee. Photo: Anthony Michael

Thersan Ganalingham, 14, Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award nominee. Photo: Anthony Michael

Anthony Michel

Walking from class to class, Thersan Ganalingham, of Perth Road, Gants Hill, noticed a recreational space at the school was not being used.

Despite a giant chess board, pupils seemed to avoid the area – known as the quads – at Valentines High School, Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill.

“Pupils didn’t use the giant chess set so it was moved and a table tennis set was placed there, but people playing said it was really dirty,” said Thersan.

“I requested a meeting with the head of the school because I was not happy with the play area.”

Thersan’s meeting led to the area being cleaned and netting placed to prevent bird-droppings spoiling the open-aired space.

His assertiveness and consideration for others led to Thersan being nominated for a Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen


He said: “I like making changes to the school and making a legacy for myself and for the future pupils.”

Teacher Maria Georgio said: “In short Thersan is an exemplary pupil and a shining example to the rest of the school.”

To top off his list of achievements, Thersan also won a Jack Petchey award in November for being a great role model within his form group.

Thersan said: “I’m using my Jack Petchey money to refurbish the quads so students can have their lunch and play table tennis there.

“I am a proud Valentines High School student. It’s important to be proud because when people apply to the school, I want my school to be a good place for future generations. They can see how great the school is.”

Thersan’s passion about the environment goes beyond the walls of Valentines.

“Outside of the school, I noticed a mosaic of chewing gum and rubbish,” added Thersan.

“You cannot just blame children, it is the public – members of the public need to take care of their community.

Thersan hopes to take the Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Gurdial Bhamra up on his offer to work with young people.

“I would like to meet the mayor,” he said.

“I would congratulate him for understanding how Redbridge needs a lot of improvement and I would give him some tips on how to improve it.”

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