Pupils at a tiny North Yorkshire village school have carried off a top charity film award with their song about their favourite tree.

Astonished staff and supporters who were invited to the regional finals of the internationally recognised Smiley Charity Film Awards in London said they were amazed when the school’s film and song won the People’s Choice Award in the competition.

The 23 pupils at Kirkby Fleetham School, aged from four to 11, recorded the song, which had been written by deputy head and budding song-writer Kirsti-Anna Hume. Called Watch Us Grow, it was inspired by the tree at the heart of the village green which is used as a playground by the children.

Performed by the children and Rob Yeadon, former drummer for the band James, the song explains that the tree is a symbol of the life, love, laughter and learning at the school.

Smiley Charity Film Awards is the world’s biggest campaign to promote cause-based films. Since its creation, more than 2,500 causes have been helped with exposure, donations and volunteers. The awards are recognised by both the British Film Institute and the Internet Movie Database.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Kirsti-Anna said as finalists, The Friends of the School were invited to a red-carpet award ceremony in Leicester Square, alongside some very famous faces and celebrities.

She added: “We couldn’t believe we had made the final, but to actually win the award in our category at such a high profile event in London was incredible. We were sat back just enjoying the evening because we thought we couldn’t possibly win, so when our name was called, we were in shock and had to be hurried to the stage.

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“It was an incredible moment, and we are so proud of our school and everyone involved. All the pupils, parents and members of the village were watching the live stream from home. It really brought the community together and demonstrated the creative power of song and the educational value of small rural schools.”

The school has had huge backing from the local community during its campaign to raise votes also featuring on BBC Radio York and The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio.

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Kirsti-Anna added: “We can’t thank our community and those who chose to support us enough. This will make such a difference to our school, not least of all demonstrating to our pupils that everyone has the power to effect positive change. As the words of the song said, we’re all destined for greatness, although we’re starting small.”

Damian Chubb, CEO of the Dales Academies Trust, of which the school is part, added: “Kirkby Fleetham maybe a small school, but it has huge ambition for all of its children. This win really shows that anything is possible if you dream big enough.”

The film can be seen at https://smileycharityfilmawards.com/videos/friends-ofkirkby- fleetham-ce-primary-school-watch-us-grow