The Eton Action fair took place mid-September and saw a return to normality after the disruption of the pandemic. Each of Eton’s 25 boarding Houses hosted a stall, local businesses had the opportunity to sell their products, and many charities came to talk about their incredible work.

Counting all the funds raised took a long time, but the Eton Action committee has just announced that between the House stalls and entry fees, a total of £30,768.69 was raised. This, along with funds raised throughout the year by other boy-led initiatives, will be divided across five local, national and international charities selected by Eton pupils.

This year’s choices are Project Luangwa, Samaritans of Windsor, Slough, and Maidenhead, St Giles Hospice, The Honeypot Children’s Charity, and World Land Trust. You can read more about all of the chosen charities here.

Press Officer Oscar Lawson caught up with some of the pupils and staff who worked so hard to make the fair such a success, to hear about their memories of the day.

The event was headed up by Miss Chownsmith, the Eton Connect Coordinator. She coordinated the day and was very pleased with how it went, telling me, “It was wonderful to see these historic parts of the College transformed into a bright and busy fair, full of joyful community spirt. The Eton Action team’s hard work made this transformation possible and the support of both the Eton and local community made the fair come to life!”

It was wonderful to see these historic parts of the College transformed into a bright and busy fair, full of joyful community spirt.

Miss Chownsmith, eton’s outreach and partnerships administrator

Also invaluable in all elements of Eton Action is Reverend Demery, one of our school chaplains and Secretary of Eton Action. He spoke of the welcome change of location from Common Lane and said, “According to one stallholder, the Fair had happened in School Yard 35 years ago, so he was pleased to be back! This in itself was a reminder of how loyal and committed so many of the stallholders have been to the Eton Action Fair.”

Another change this year was promoting the five chosen charities at the opening point of the fair, setting out their stalls at the entry. This enabled the pupils who had campaigned for their inclusion to talk to the public about them. One boy even donned the Honeypot’s bee costume mascot and collected donations in return for pictures and high-fives!

The Honeypot Children’s Charity and their Bee mascot

Mr Demery thought this was great: “This put the charities front and centre of the fair, reminding us why it was worth all of the effort. I hope that the visibility they received will have helped them in the long term.”

The House stalls varied from the charmingly home grown to the downright professional, and everything in between. The weather really helped, certainly, but the atmosphere seemed genuinely joyful.

It was made possible by the unseen work of the Eton Action Committee, who worked from 7am to 6pm, setting up, managing, and then taking it down at the end.

The committee is run by five pupils, who had a lot to manage on the day, and advocate for fundraising challenges and activities throughout the rest of the academic year. Like most people, they were thrilled with the total amount of money raised, and very pleased with the whole event. I caught up with some of the committee:

“The new venue proved a huge success. As one shopkeeper in Eton told me he’d lived in Eton Wick for over 25 years, but had never been into School Yard. Visitors were able to meander their way over the cobbles, through the passageway and out onto Weston’s Yard and College Field.

From buskers to amateur chefs, raffle holders to pupils happy to get soaked with sponges, this year’s house stalls proved popular as ever. There was plate smashing, clinging to pull-up bars, space hopper throwing, and many more challenges for people to have a go at, with Eton pupils in charge of the whole stall. After gathering prizes, formulating novel ideas, and persuading younger pupils to help out on the day, the rewards of organising house stalls were clearly seen, with so many people from the local community and further afield having fun in the sun on College Field. It was a great event raising lots of money for amazing causes, which we hope to be able to add to in the coming year.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in any element of the fair, and to the hundreds of generous people who came along to enjoy the day!