Major blow to North Walsham family’s dream of providing water for Ugandan orphans

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 May 2013

Dave and Helen Mason with their family: Abbey, Leo, Rosa, Rory, Lily and Poppy. Picture: SUBMITTED

Dave and Helen Mason with their family: Abbey, Leo, Rosa, Rory, Lily and Poppy. Picture: SUBMITTED


A family who thought they had finally realised a 12-year-plus dream to provide a well for an African community have been dealt a major blow.

Dave and Helen Mason and their six children have discovered that the cost of a borehole project for an orphans’ school in Uganda has risen more than sevenfold.

But the Masons, from Swafield Rise, North Walsham, who are self-employed and say they are not wealthy, are determined not to give up and are appealing for everyone to buy copies of a professionally-produced CD for the cause.

The family reached their £600 target in March, through selling their CD, but were shocked to learn that a recent survey had revealed the borehole would have to pass through 60 feet of rock, not earth, to reach the water source - bumping up the cost to £4,500.

Meanwhile children at the Kitale orphans’ school will have to carry on walking two kilometres every day to get untreated water from a stagnant pool, carrying it back in containers balanced on their heads. Mrs Mason said they began thinking about the water project when they sponsored children through the charity World Vision more than 12 years ago, but had found the cost, then estimated at £2,500, prohibitive.

But the idea stayed with them and when charity shops opened in North Walsham supporting the Kitale school, the dream rekindled.

Because the school had an on-site maintenance team who could provide the labour for free, the cost was a manageable £600.

They began selling copies of a children’s CD called Do the Dinosaurus with profits going to their appeal.

The CD features by music and lyrics written by Dave, a professional author, poet and performer, and his musician brother Dare. Members of the Mason family, dubbed the Masonettes, perform on the CD which features funny songs set to music including rap, rock and roll, jazz and folk.

Mrs Mason said they were thrilled when they reached their target but bitterly disappointed when they learned the results of the survey.

“We were absolutely devastated. We thought we were there - we had set our hearts on it. It had taken such a lot of effort selling CDs in this climate where everything is digital. It would be really good if schools could buy them as end-of-term prizes.

“I won’t give up. The Kitale kids were so excited about it. Some of them are so little and they have to carry these great water containers.”

A borehole, giving access to a natural underground water supply, would reduce the danger of water-borne illness and mean that the children could spend much more time in school being educated.

■ The album costs £7 and is available from iTunes and Amazon or via David Mason’s website:

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