Corby pupils forging links with African village

Students from The Kingswood School, Corby, have fun with youngsters in the Gambian village of Penyen
Students from The Kingswood School, Corby, have fun with youngsters in the Gambian village of Penyen
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Students at The Kingswood School, Corby, are strengthening their links with an African village after another successful visit.

The group of 14 pupils, accompanied by three teachers and three members of Corby Phoenix Rotary Club, spent a week in the village of Penyen in the West African state of Gambia.

Pupils originally heard of the village in 2004 from former teachers Anne and Andy Butler, who founded the Northampton Trustee Fund after a visit to the country.

The rotary club became involved when Kingswood’s former headteacher David Tristram spoke to members about the project to improve facilities in Penyen.

On the latest visit last month the three rotary club members opened the Phoenix Medical Unit in the village, after fundraising for the project.

Me Tristram said: “It was an emotional visit especially as many of those who travelled met their sponsored children, of all ages, for the first time. But it was a terrific educational opportunity for the students and for us all to catch up with the progress made within the village, building on the fantastic work that Kingswood and the Northampton Trustee Fund started during previous visits.

“These included the establishment of a superb upper school and enhancements to the primary school, which is attended by children from infants and upwards.”

The medical unit contains beds and equipment, used by the whole village under the supervision of a trained medical practitioner paid for by the fund.

The Corby Rotary club also provided funding for 100 mosquito nets.

Also on the visit to Penyen, the Webb Suite, a new toilet block, was opened.

Mr Butler said: “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the people here in Penyen and contributors to the charity especially by the Moulton-based Webb family. They raised enough funds to pay for a substantial part of the toilet block which replaces holes in the ground.”

The Kingswood students have also helped set up a village school, establishing a link with the village and its people, and Corby Phoenix Rotary Club is to sponsor a teacher, costing around £400 a year.