Beech Hill's generosity tops £8,000

Beech Hill Community Primary School, Luton - which is twinned with Sohm Lower Basic school - recently held their second "Gambia Day" and raised over £2,000 for their linked school in The Gambia.


Beech Hill's 2019 Gambia Day: some of the pupils
 "modelling" African masks we took for the occasion,
 all suitably dressed in Gambian flag colours, and
supervised by SSS's Sandra Walker,
 sporting her Gambian top

It was a "non-uniform" day in the school, and pupils were encouraged to go dressed in the red, blue and green colours of The Gambian flag. Sandra and John Walker, of Sohm Schools Support lead assemblies for the 900 pupils at the school, and were in attendance all day, sharing stories and watching the Luton children hard at work


Beech Hill pupils, hard at work,
 creating Gambian flags

The day's school work was turned over to Gambia-related topics, as students wrote postcards home to their parents, based on an imaginary holiday in the tourist country of The Gambia. Other children drew and painted African scenes, from materials shown to them by our charity and accessed on the internet. There were African dance, song and story telling sessions; and at the end of the day some of the pupils' parents sold curries and other food, from donated products, with the proceeds going to the Gambian school.


Painting and cutting out masks

Over £2,000 was raised on the day, bringing the total fund raising efforts of Beech Hill's pupils, parents and staff to over £8,000 over the last two years.

Natalie Carson, deputy head of Beech Hill said: "The Sohm story has really captured the imagination of our pupils and parents, who have been delighted to help. I visited the school in The Gambia about 5 years ago, and know what a huge difference our students' efforts will make to improving the educational chances of these African youngsters. The Gambia work is great for extending our children's education and appreciation of the ways of life of people their same age in other countries."



Some of the staff at Beech Hill have recently put a huge amount of work into creating an exhibition for the school's foyer, showing pupils and parents, alike, the results of some of the school-twinning.


Beech Hill's Sohm exhibition -
pride of place in the school foyer

The exhibition shows: Sohm and Luton's youngsters work celebrating the twinning. There are "before" and "after" photos of the difference Luton's fund-raising has made to projects in Sohm. There are press cuttings of some of the excellent coverage Beech Hill has received from Luton Today.

A key feature of the exhibit is the "building blocks of progress", this shows how far Beech Hill has come in raising its target of £10,000 for The Gambian school. Sohm School Support trustee, Sandra Walker said: 


We are able to get "matched funding" from others for Beech Hill's efforts, which means we can soon start construction on our most ambitious project: a 30 metre hall and kitchen for Sohm Lower Basic school. This will replace a dangerous and dilapidated dining hall that was not fit for purpose.
And ... the money raised by Beech Hill,
to date - in excess of £8,000 - well placed
to hit their £10,000 target by 2020.

The new building will be multi-functional and act as a dining hall, gym, meeting room, assembly hall, prayer room and the village's first community hall. It will last until the Beech Hill students are themselves parents of primary school pupils in Luton. What a fabulous present and legacy they are giving to their Gambian friends! 
Meanwhile, we undertake to keep you updated, as progress is made on the construction of the new building and hope to be there for its opening in the new year, which we will record and share on this site. 

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