The school run to Gambia

A group of Aberdeen friends led by Mike Woodier have organised a charity drive from the UK to The Gambia in West Africa to help take essential supplies to schools all over the area.

Fundraising for Shine Africa the Gambia, Mike Woodier, Aberdeenshire council employees Charlie Shaw, Charlie Denny and Aberdeenshire residents Richard Sawyer, Chris Pagan and Vicky Lang are setting out on a 4,000 mile adventure in March 2014, to provide school equipment, medical supplies and three Land Rover Ambulances to schools in The Gambia.

These selfless fundraisers will start from Portsmouth on a ferry to Spain, driving through Spain to a ferry bound for the north coast of Morocco. The team will drive the three ex-Army Land Rover Ambulances filled with life-changing supplies through Morocco, the Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and finally into The Gambia.

The team are asking for donations of all kinds of stationery, exercise books for children, good quality reading books for nursery children, phonic books and equipment, simple reading books, storybooks especially about animals. Donators are asked to be careful not to donate books which contain stories about badly behaved children as these are not received well in this culture.

Educational equipment will also be gratefully received, for example: unifix cubes and items used for counting and sorting; mega blocks and duplo; sports equipment, a variety of balls, skipping ropes etc; any medical equipment, medicines (in date), bandages, diabetic equipment, medical books, disability aids including wheelchairs, crutches etc; second hand clothing, especially for babies and children, adult clothing, headwear, shoes etc; laptops, mobile phones and second hand glasses; bedding; towels; curtains; handbags; belts; and scrap metal which can be weighed in for money.

Donating much-needed items or making a donation to the cause will help enable this area to build or upgrade nursery schools, pay teachers wages, produce visual aids for teachers and children, support the health and safety of pupils, provide suitable toilets and drinking water, ensure each child sleeps under a life saving mosquito net and build secure fencing around the nursery schools.

The team have made their own personal contribution to the cause by purchasing the Land Rovers and providing the cost of getting them to a serviceable condition. Each vehicle will receive as much work as necessary to make them 100% usable.

To donate to this cause please visit their website www.theschoolrun-uktothegambia.co.uk or Facebook page www.facebook.com/theschoolrun2014