Gambia well project paid for in memory of caring father

Liz Hunton and David Birch are running a charity to raise money for people in Gambia. Picture: Ian Burt Liz Hunton and David Birch are running a charity to raise money for people in Gambia. Picture: Ian Burt

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
6:30 AM

A brother and sister have honoured their father’s memory by raising funds to help some of the world’s poorest people in Gambia, west Africa.

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Raymond Birch. Picture: Ian BurtRaymond Birch. Picture: Ian Burt

Raymond Birch died, following an illness, in April last year, aged 79.

His son David Birch, 51, and daughter Liz Hunton, 57, from Mattishall, near Dereham, have since used funds raised at his funeral and their own money to pay around £1,000 for a well to be built in the village of Mankamang Kunda.

They have done this through the charity, Gambian Aid Through Education (GATE), which was founded by Mattishall resident Janet Clark.

Mr Birch grew up in Norwich, ran a post office on Aylsham Road and was a teacher at Poringland Junior School.

Charity founder Janet Clark is pictured at the well in Gambia which has been funded by Liz Hunton and David Birch.Charity founder Janet Clark is pictured at the well in Gambia which has been funded by Liz Hunton and David Birch.

He moved to Mattishall in 1996.

Money was also raised for a well in Gambia when his wife, and Mr Birch and Ms Hunton’s mother Janet died in 2000.

Ms Hunton said: “Dad was supportive of many charities and supported people in Gambia for many years.

“I’m sure he would be delighted to see this well built in his memory.

“Women in this village have to walk miles to get fresh water and it will often mean children miss school as they have other work to do while their mothers are away.”

GATE was established in 2005. It raises money for, among other things, wells, mosquito nets and resources for schools.

Mrs Clark founded the charity after visiting remote parts of Gambia while on holiday in 2000.

She said: “In the last five years we have made sure that every bed in six villages has mosquito nets and, because of that, nobody has died from malaria.”

Ms Hunton said: “Janet is doing some fantastic work.

“She sent me a picture of the well and brought a letter back from the people out there thanking us, which is lovely.”

Mrs Clark will be selling items which have been made by people in Gambia at Dereham Baptist Church on Saturday to raise money for GATE.

She is organising a fundraising ball at South Green Park, Mattishall on June 7 and an abseil down the village’s All Saints’ Church on June 28, where people are encouraged to donate half of their sponsorship money to GATE and half to a charity of their choice.

For more about GATE, call Mrs Clark on 01362 858221.

Do you know anyone doing great charity work? E mail newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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