Hartismere School pupil recognised for ‘inspirational’ charity work

A Hartismere School pupil who raised almost £1,000 for a short break service for children with disabilities which has benefited a close family friend in the South Norfolk area has won universal praise.

Zak Weiss, 14, of Eye, raised more than £900 through three cakes sales, the first of which was held in November, a sweet tombola, and a ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition.

The money has been donated to Nelson Lodge in Long Stratton, a local children’s short break service operated by the charity Break, which offers a fun and safe place for disabled children to visit. He wanted to raise money for the charity to help the close family friend who benefits from the facility.

Zak, who aspires to be a chef, was recognised with a civic award from Eye Town Council at the annual town meeting last week for his fundraising efforts, although it remains a mystery as to who nominated the teenager for the award.

He told the Diss Express: “We got a letter about a week in advance saying that I had got it but I did not know what is was.

“It did come as a shock because I did not think I was going to get any recognition from the community as well. It does mean a lot to me that I am helping others at a place which helps kids and their families as well.

“My friends and both sides of my family have been really supportive. They have been really supportive about what I have wanted to do and they are really proud of what I have done.”

Proud grandmother Catherine Weiss added: “He is such a good lad.

“He puts his mind to something and that is it, he will get on to it.”

Roz Barnett, Eye Town Council clerk said that many nominations for the awards had been received, but explained the council had been particularly impressed with Zak’s fundraising activities.

The money raised will be spent on provided an in-ground trampoline at the facility.

Mel Julier, manager at Nelson Lodge, said Zak was “deserving” of his accolade presented by the council this week.

“When we saw the amount that had been donated, we were absolutely amazed. I have not spoken to Zak himself but he sent a letter with his donation and was casual with it. It just blew us away.

“He absolutely deserves it (the award). I am really pleased to hear that he was won.”

Ann Davies, a parent who benefits from the facilities at Nelson Lodge, added: “Zak is so thoughtful, he’s an inspirational teenager, to use his free time to raise money for this fantastic charity.

“We really want to praise Zak because I am just amazed that a man of that age has put so much effort it.

“I’m so glad he’s got recognition from Eye with the Civic award.”

Other members of the Eye community who received awards include Juliet Grimes and Neil Bolger, for their work on the new scout hut, Peter Hawkins, for his photography and positive promotion of the town, and Elisabeth Oliver, for her contribution to manning the church shop and other community work.

For more information on Break, visit www.break-charity.org