THE King’s Ely community has raised more than £23,000 for two charities which support poverty-stricken families in East Africa.

Over the last 12 months, students, staff, families and friends of King’s Ely have been taking on a whole host of fundraising initiatives in aid of the Uganda Marathon charity and the Friends of Mengo Hospital charity.

The biggest challenge by far was in June when Richard Oliver, Alison Stewart, Amanda Kippax and Claire Kyndt, who are all members of teaching staff at King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior, signed up for the Uganda Marathon itself. The gruelling challenge saw the team, including Richard’s wife Niki, joining thousands of people from around the world to take on the 26.2 mile course through beautiful yet remote, hard-baked tracks in the equatorial heat.

In the week leading up to the race, the intrepid King’s Ely team also took part in a variety of local voluntary based projects in Uganda, including a school sports day to support the UN’s Global Goal initiative. Despite huge progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, Uganda has suffered hugely from conflict. Around 6.7 million Ugandans still live in poverty and a further 14.7 million are vulnerable. Access to health and education remains inconsistent with life expectancy at 54 years.

Andy Miller, a representative of the Uganda Marathon charity, attended King’s Ely’s Michaelmas Mid-term Service at Ely Cathedral on October 19th to receive the fruits of the school’s fundraising efforts – a cheque for an astounding £23,583. The money will be split equally between the Uganda Marathon charity and the Friends of Mengo Hospital charity, which both work tirelessly to help reduce poverty in the Eastern African country.

The Mid-term Service opened with African drumming and the choir singing ‘Bele Mama’ (Call Mother) and concluded with the same, sung as a ‘round’ by King’s Ely Junior’s four houses. A beautiful African anthem, ‘Jesu Ukukhanya, Si njay njay njay’, echoed gracefully through the cathedral after the cheque presentation.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “We are tremendously proud of the way in which the King’s Ely community has pulled together to raise this fantastic amount. We have been inspired by our intrepid teachers and by the difference we know this donation will make on the ground.”

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