CLYDEBANK pupils have united to raise almost £20,000 in honour of a favourite teacher battling leukaemia.

About 800 Clydebank High youngsters took part in a Santa dash yesterday and had pulled in £15,000 in sponsorship towards the Beatson, where Graham Simpson is being cared for.

The chemistry and pastoral care teacher, known as Dr Simpson to pupils, also has a JustGiving online appeal that has raised another £4,740.

He was diagnosed last month with blood cancer Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and has been undergoing chemotherapy since then.

Clydebank High immediately showed their support by planning the 5k Santa dash as well as pupils signing up with the Anthony Nolan Trust to be potential stem cell or bone marrow donors.

Speaking from the Beatson, 55-year-old Graham told the Post: “If I could run around like one of those footballers with their jumper over their face and sliding down on my knees, I would.

“I always knew the pupils would step up. Step up? My god, they have climbed a mountain.

“Words can’t describe how much this means. Even £1,000 I would have been euphoric. I would love to be at school just sitting watching them go by and giving them high-fives.

“I want to thank every single pupil, former pupil, teacher – I’m inspired by them. I have a long journey to go and it will be eased by the amazing fundraising they have done for such a brilliant place.”

The father-of-two added: “It’s hard to find words – it’s life-affirming.”

Earlier this month Dr Simpson, who has been at Clydebank High since 2001, was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with pneumonia after chemotherapy destroyed his immune system.

Pupils have been vocal in their support, calling Dr Simpson not only a favourite teacher, but a favourite person.

One said: “Dr Simpson is a man who would never give up on a pupil’s potential nor will he give up this battle – and we’re not going to give up on him!”

Graham’s wife and depute head teacher at Clydebank High, Lorraine Simpson, said he seems to have recovered from bout of pneumonia and his bone marrow is starting to grow back healthy. But he will still need a transplant if a match can be found.

Lorraine said: “The staff at the Beatson say it’s such an uplifting place to work – everyone is so positive. I know what they mean now.

“We’re hoping Graham might get out Christmas day so he is very excited about that prospect.

“He was really quite emotional on Monday when he found out the kids have collected so much money. It’s quite humbling, in an area of such deprivation, for people to be so generous.

“It’s really quite moving.

“We’ve had so many kind wishes from so many pupils past and present.”

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