Yorkshire school receives Variety Sunshine Coach from late Paul Ziff
Ziff was a life-long supporter of Variety. He became Chairman of the Variety Club Leeds Committee in 1975 and continued to be an avid contributor and supporter of the charity until his death, aged 84, in 2020.
The Forest School is a Specialist College for Communication and Interaction for 3-16 year olds, 94% of whom have Speech, Language and Communication Needs. The new vehicle is a specially adapted, accessible minibus that will give pupils at The Forest School the opportunity to explore places they would otherwise never visit, experience different learning environments and gain life skills outside of the classroom – all while supporting their physical, social and language development.
Paul James, Co-Headteacher at The Forest School said “We are extremely grateful to our sponsor and Variety, the Children’s Charity for providing a Sunshine Coach. A donation such as this means our pupils will benefit for many years to come by having transport to allow them to take part in opportunities such as horse riding, swimming, learning in the community, theatre visits and school residentials. Thank you so much”.
Over 5,745 Sunshine Coaches have been funded for SEND schools, like The Forest School, and other non-profit organisations working with disabled and disadvantaged children and young people across the UK since Variety began in 1949.
Speaking about his donation, Paul’s widow Lea said: “Paul had a lifelong passion to help others, and in particular to champion young people and unlock their full potential, no matter what their circumstances or disabilities. That’s why he was so dedicated to working tirelessly for Variety for so many years, having the same aims at heart.
“I chose Forest School to be the recipient of this sunshine coach, as Paul himself suffered from severe aphasia for 20 years so we both knew how challenging language and communication impairments can be. I really hope this bright new sunshine coach will broaden horizons for all the children at Forest School and give them the freedom and opportunity to experience many wonderful educational and recreational days out.”
A devoted and passionate supporter of the organisation, Ziff had previously made other generous donations, under his chairmanship of the Leeds Committee together with his supportive team, which included the gifting of a Variety Sunshine Coach to Grafton School in Leeds in 1981 and another to South Lodge School in Leicester two years later.
Along with a team of supportive barkers, Ziff also organised several star-studded events for the charity including the Sportsman of the Year Dinner and the first ever Woman of the Year Awards. He was even presented with a special Silver Heart Award in 1975 by HRH Prince Charles (now King Charles III) who attended the Variety Club Lunch in Leeds, which helped raise funds for the Children’s Heart Wing Hospital at Killingbeck.
Conrad Hollingsworth, Chief Executive at Variety, said: “It is testament to Paul’s character that his generous donations continue long after his departure. He had a legendary generosity of spirit, and his compassion touched the lives of so many. Variety was built on the charitable deeds of extraordinary individuals like Paul. We will be forever grateful for his decades of dedication to Variety, and we send our best wishes to Lea, who I am sure takes immense pride in Paul’s amazing charity work, which ensures his legacy will live on.”