Pupils’ long distance effort to aid Uganda

Pupils are running for Uganda at Westwood Primary School
Pupils are running for Uganda at Westwood Primary School
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Tearing around the school field is top of the timetable for pupils at Westwood Primary School.

Both pupils and their teachers are training to race all the way to Uganda... at least virtually.

The Clayton-le-Woods school, near Chorley, has set up links with counterparts in the east African country and is trying to boost its support.

Class teacher Danny 
McGregor is a supporter and fund-raiser of the charity Forever Friends of Uganda, which is run by the father of one of the school’s teaching assistants, Rogan Mills.

In the summer holidays, Mr McGregor went over to Uganda to visit Westwood’s twin school and orphanage.

So far this year, the Westwood Road infant and junior school has raised nearly £1,000 for the charity but is now planning a mega community push which will see them running thousands of miles.

Danny, who is organising the project, said: “The entire school, staff and children, are going to take part in a sponsored walk/run to Uganda in which we are going to walk the total distance from our school to the Little Angels Primary School in Uganda.

“This is a little further than 6,000 miles.

“We aim to succeed by each child and staff member, and potentially family members, walking or running a mile every school day in the summer term until we reach our goal.

“We aim to do it before school time on a set track around school.”

Although the school already helps its African twin, Danny wanted to see the school and orphanage himself and meet people at the school.

During his visit, he kept a detailed diary and said: “My visit was to see up close the community and its struggles and to meet the children in person as I wanted a deeper understanding of who and what we occasionally raised money for via school.

“I was passionate about doing what I could to help, and thought that going there to see it for real was the best way to get a real understanding of what is needed and how it could be achieved.

“I lived at the orphanage with the teachers and some of the orphaned children.

“It was a complete culture shock but one that I will never forget or regret.

“These children don’t have shoes, barely have clothes, never mind enough food to survive on.

“The teachers live on site and get paid approximately the equivalent to £50 a month but even this is subjective to what is available.”

“The education system in Uganda requires children to pay to attend school and in these extremely rural areas, is rarely an option.

“The children are required to farm crops to feed their families.

“It was heartbreaking to see it and live it, but at the same time was truly uplifting.

“Although these children have nothing, they do possess the strength and love to survive such terrible poverty.”

Since returning, Danny has given several assemblies and held numerous fund-raisers in school and even streamed Uganda’s first match at the AFCON tournament for 39 years live for the children of Westwood to enjoy.

The big push will be the sponsored walk, which school is hoping the community will get behind.

Posters have gone up around the are and pupils are already in training.