A MAJOR fundraising drive has been launched to help maintain a vital service to encourage children to lead healthy lives.

Life Education Wessex receives no government funding despite providing valuable education for 60,000 three to eleven-year-olds.

Now fundraisers hope members of the public will give a gift for life this Christmas by sending Life Education Wessex e-cards to friends and family instead of Christmas cards, and making a donation to the charity.

The charity has five mobile classrooms which visit schools across the region giving education on a range of subjects from healthy eating and feelings to drugs and alcohol.

With the help of Harold the giraffe, youngsters learn how to make good decisions, how their bodies work and how to be kind to others.

There are 10 different programmes tailored to the ages of the children visiting the mobile classrooms.

“Harold the giraffe and the life bus are known to thousands of children, schools and parents throughout Dorset,” said fundraising manager Lorraine Hewitt.

“Life Education gives children the knowledge to make healthy choices now and in the future. Your donation will help more children receive valuable education.”

The charity needs to raise around £3.20 per child.

During a recent visit to Queen’s Park Academy in Bournemouth, Year 6 students took part in a programme called Decisions where they explored the effects of drugs on the body.

All the students were captivated during the 75-minute interactive presentation which involved games, question-and-answer sessions, role play and even an on-screen quiz with TV favourite Chris Jarvis.

For a copy of the e-card, e-mail and for more information about the charity go to lifeeducation wessex.org.uk