Staff and students at Blessed William Howard Catholic High School, Stafford, celebrated its patron’s Feast Day (Thursday 21 October) with a day of educational and fun activities themed around ‘Vocation’, giving everyone in the school community an opportunity to reflect on their calling from God.

The day was shaped around the Archdiocese of Birmingham's Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God's Plan through the four themes of Evangelisation, Liturgy and Worship, Formation and Social Outreach.

The fundraising aspect resulting in an impressive £2,000 being raised which will be split between two charities, The Mizen Foundation and the Matt Hampson Foundation, both of whom also took part in the day.

The Sixth Form leadership group and volunteers also worked incredibly hard, creating a fayre for all students to enjoy and to boost the fundraising aspect of the day. Activities included a raffle, tombola, guess the name of the teddy, rowing competitions, football shoot outs and many more.

As the Liturgy part of the day the whole school Mass was streamed live allowing everyone to come together virtually. Mass was led by students from all year groups.

For the Evangelisation aspect of the day, students listened to the story of the Mizens.

16-year-old Jimmy Mizen was murdered in May 2008 when he and his older brother went into a bakery near their home in Lee, South East London. While inside, Jake – who had been cautioned by police several years earlier for harassing Jimmy’s older sibling – brushed past the brothers. A scuffle followed resulting in Jake hurling a glass dish at Jimmy and fatally wounding him. Jimmy’s parents, Barry and Margaret Mizen, hit national headlines when, immediately after the attack, they spoke of compassion rather than revenge. In March 2009 Jake received a life sentence for murder.

“I’m not shouting from the roof top “I forgive” but, by not wanting revenge I have an inner peace that a lot of people in our position don’t seem to have. Jimmy’s murder has done a lot of damage to this family and I can’t let it do any more,” said Margaret Mizen.

“Our role now is to reach young people before they end up in prison. I believe it is possible for anyone to change and that includes the person who killed our Jimmy.”

Social Outreach is building the common good through charitable outreach - offering time, resources and love to those who need them most - inviting others to join in with charitable work.

For this aspect, students also heard the story of Matt Hampson, the rugby player who was paralyzed. Since his accident in 2005 during an England under-21 rugby training session, Matt has battled hard to live as normal a life as possible. Paralysed from the neck down and breathing via the aid of a ventilator, Matt didn’t lament what he’d lost, but instead decided to focus on the things he could still do and get busy living. Matt established the Foundation in 2011 to help others like him who have suffered similar catastrophic injuries through sport to receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.

The final aspect of the day was Formation. For this, the school asked students to reflect on how to help lead Catholic worship and help to understand more about faith so as to deepen personal relationships with God.

The students have a prayer shelf and a prayer display in their form class rooms and were asked to develop these to be unique and personal to their tutor group.

The form tutor group in each year with the most people contributing, the most thoughtful and the most creative display, will win pizza in the first week back after half-term.

“Everyone at Blessed William Howard extends their thanks to Margaret and Barry Mizen, and Matt Hampson, who joined us virtually to talk about their experiences,” said Hayley Melia, Assistant Principal at BWH.

“Their message of forgiveness and social outreach has really inspired our community. We have fundraised around £2,000 for these charities. Well done everyone! A fantastic day, enjoyed by all.”

Find out more about the Diocesan Vision, Unfolding God's Plan