Group takes leap of faith for Hastings, Sierra Leone

Two of the parachute jumpers
Two of the parachute jumpers

A group of five teachers and volunteers undertook a free fall parachute jump to raise funds to help Hastings’ namesake town in Sierra Leone.

Richard White, headteacher of St Paul’s School and his daughter Ellen, Richard Homewood, a director at Hastings Borough Council and Matt and Hollie Lockwood, took part in the fundraiser on Sunday (November 9), raising more than £2,000.

The group from Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link visited Hastings in the African country in February and were shocked by the plight of the schools and the community, still recovering from the impact of the rebel war, and now ravaged by Ebola, that five of them decided to do the parachute jump.

Mr Homewood, who is also chairman of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, said: “We all do so much for charity nowadays but the people of Hastings, Sierra Leone are close to our hearts, having seen first-hand the plight and daily struggles they have with things we take for granted like water supply, and even a roof over their head. They are very proud and generous people but have so very little. One of the primary schools can’t open in the wet season because the roof is incomplete, two of the schools were without water supplies until Hastings UK schools raised the funds for wells to be dug earlier this year.

“We have been working to improve the health centre facilities in Hastings, Sierra Leone for the past few years and this work is even more critical now that Ebola is affecting the village, which now hosts a large Ebola Treatment Centre in the old Police Training School.

“We are all working hard to raise much-needed funds to help keep the health centre and the local schools functioning at this extremely difficult and traumatic time for them.

“The jump is one of many fundraising activities we have promoted recently.

“There was also a Gala Concert at St Mary in the Castle, a Posh Jumble Sale, a barbecue in St Helens Wood and a Quiz Night. One of our patrons ran the Beachy Head Marathon and raised more than £1,400.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of others, including Laurence at the White Rock Hotel for helping us with fundraising events. We would like to thank all those who have donated for their generosity and support.”

Anyone wishing to donate can still do so at the Charity Checkout website, charitycheckout.co.uk/1127137/bigjump or call Mr Homewood on 07711 076900.

More information on the work of the Friendship Link in Hastings, Sierra Leone can be found by logging onto the websites at www.hastingshastings.org.uk and www.sierraleonegettingitsorted.com.