Belfast Telegraph

Co Tyrone pupil Jamie Harkin's delight as calendar tribute to late teacher sells out in days

Jamie Harkin with one of his pocket calendars
Jamie Harkin with one of his pocket calendars
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The head boy at a Co Tyrone school who created a special calendar in memory of a popular English teacher who died from cancer has had to produce hundreds more to meet demand.

Jamie Harkin, from Omagh, a pupil at Drumragh Integrated College, created 366 Pockets of Positivity in tribute to the late Graham Peters, who sadly passed away in 2017 and "absolutely loved quotes".

But following the publication of the story in the Belfast Telegraph just three days ago, all 500 calendars have sold out and the 18-year-old said he is now reproducing another batch of equal number.

He also revealed that he believes Mr Peters would have been "immensely proud" of what he has done and that "he'd have a great time reading through it and seeing all the quotes that we actually selected in the end".

"There's no stock left so the local printing company, which made the first 500, is currently reproducing 500 more," Jamie said.

"They're working on them as fast as they can; they're like elves at the moment."

There has been a huge response to the desktop calendar, costing £10, which is filled with positive quotations - one for every single day - from Mr Peters and other inspirational sources.

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Graham Peters, who died from cancer
Graham Peters, who died from cancer

The idea initially came about because Mr Peters, who "always used to say, 'I'm not leaving until I see you smile", had covered his classroom walls in quotes to reflect his passion for them.

"Mr Peters was a huge fan of quotes and his room was covered in quotes from Toy Story to Disney and everything in between," said Jamie. "In class, if we ever needed inspiration or motivation, all we needed to do was turn to one of the four walls. Mr Peters would always point to one during the week, a sort of quote of the week idea, so that's where this idea came from."

Having turned his original concept into a calendar just weeks before Christmas, the pupil has struck a chord with people in Northern Ireland and beyond.

"We've been inundated with calls since the article appeared in the Belfast Telegraph and we've heard that some of the calendars have been sent as far away as New Zealand, which is so exciting," Jamie revealed.

"People have told me the idea is an inspiration to them and many actually said it was a great comfort to them to know they could remember a loved one through these positive quotes.

"Others have also told me how much of an impact it has had on them personally."

The young entrepreneur, who was given a blessing from his late teacher's wife Karen for the project, said she was "over the moon with the response".

He added: "I don't think anybody really expected it to take off like this."

After its publication in the Belfast Telegraph, the calendar story was highlighted on both the Stephen Nolan Show and the Stephen Clements Show on BBC Radio Ulster and followed up by UTV and Huffington Post as well as other media.

This has resulted in an increase of sales and phone calls to Drumragh College. People now have an option to order calendars online should they so wish.

"The phone in the office was hopping like crazy so we've set up an order form on the school website for people to place orders, so that should make everything a lot easier," Jamie said.

But if demand doesn't abate, the soon-to-be law student and gifted businessman said he can see another production run ahead and even more money raised for his nominated local charity Care for Cancer.

One of Jamie Harkin's pocket calendars
One of Jamie Harkin's pocket calendars

"If we raise £10,000 that would be a very merry Christmas for them," he said.

If you are interested in 366 Pockets of Positivity, call Drumragh Integrated College on 028 8225 2440 or visit drumraghcollege.co.uk

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