School’s £15k will feed hundreds of pupils in Africa

Beachborough School pupils with their Mary's Meals mugs

Beachborough School pupils with their Mary's Meals mugs

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A generous prep school has raised more than £15,000 to build a kitchen for pupils in Malawi and feed them for a year.

Beachborough School had a kitchen fitted itself at the start of the year so for the past 12 months, its fundraising goal was to build one at a Malawian school.

Beachborough School had a kitchen fitted itself at the start of the year so for the past 12 months, its fundraising goal was to build one at a Malawian school.'Children, staff and parents smashed their target of �7,000 to raise enough money to build two new kitchens. PNL-140926-161323001

Beachborough School had a kitchen fitted itself at the start of the year so for the past 12 months, its fundraising goal was to build one at a Malawian school.'Children, staff and parents smashed their target of �7,000 to raise enough money to build two new kitchens. PNL-140926-161323001

Children, staff and parents smashed their target of £7,000 to raise enough money to build two new kitchens.

But the Westbury school’s charity committee decided to build one kitchen at Thola Primary School in Karongabut, while providing food for all 663 pupils for a year.

Sally Gross said: “It’s unusual for us to go global. It was a one off and we all gave it a big, big push but just by committing ourselves, the whole school completely went wild for it.

“For some children, it was a case of ‘right, I’m not having any birthday presents this year’ but we got lots of support from parents and when we realised we had exceeded our target quite dramatically, we thought let’s keep pushing.”

Mrs Gross, who ran the committee with Yve Kerr and Verity Sanders, said charity Mary’s Meals has received £15,500 to build the kitchen.

It will be a brick building, due for completion in January, with one main cooking area and two small storerooms, filled with food and utensils and fully equipped with stoves, pots, mugs and spoons.

There will also be a wall-mounted blackboard in the kitchen so it can double up as a classroom and will bear Beachborough’s motto of ‘though we are small we can achieve great things’ on a plaque.

“We take our kitchen for granted,” Mrs Gross said. “Each of the children go to school in Malawi and in assembly they would offer thanks to Beachborough School.

“The values we teach create a little team of fundraisers and we give them opportunities to think for themselves, while remembering how lucky they are.”

Beachborough’s pupils, aged three-13, held fundraising events each month including tutor group dinner parties, cake sales, aerobics classes, cycle rides and bazaars.

The most successful event was a Three Peaks Challenge in June when a team of parents and staff, including headteacher Jeremy Banks, conquered the three highest mountains in Great Britain in less than 24 hours.

Sponsorship of £50 for the trekkers entered donators into a raffle to win running spikes signed by six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt and a Beachborough boy now proudly owns them.

But hundreds of pounds were made from simple coin collection in blue mugs, given to each pupil by Mary’s Meals.

Mrs Gross said: “I think part of the whole fundraising thing is when you’re doing it in such a beautiful location, the events are very memorable and the Sixth Form who left for example, those memories will stay with them for life. I am sure of it.

“It has a massive impact on them and they can now go off and help in their own ways. Different charities touch different people in different ways.”

Mary’s Meals was set up in 2012 and offers school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.