By Ebrima Jallow
A group of Lytham friends in the UK are fund-raising for four youngsters in The Gambia who tragically lost their parents.
Martin Rowley, owner of Carpets Of Lytham, came to know the country after buying a holiday home here.
He made friends with Ebrima Dacosta, who used to look after the compound which Martin owned.
The pair built a school in Wulinkama, Brufut, for local children whose parents couldn’t afford private schooling.
But following the tragic death of Mr Dacosta, Mr Rowley and his friends from Lytham are keen to see the school continue to flourish and grow.
One of the fundraising team members is Ian Rigg, who ran the Taps pub in Lytham.
Mr Rigg said: “It’s a poor country and they struggle to have their children educated.
“The school in Martin’s village was set up two years ago.
“It was awful when Dacosta’s wife died of malaria, and he died six weeks later; I think of a broken heart.”
The group, which includes another friend, Paula Rigg, is aiming to raise £2,000 in the first instance which will be spent on food, clothing and schooling for the four children that Dacosta left behind.
They have now set up this Just Giving charity page where people can donate.
Mr Rigg said: “We are sending a sack of rice every month. I went over last Christmas and again in March and I just fell in love with the place. They are such wonderful people, they really looked after me when I got malaria. But they’ve got absolutely nothing, not even running water. It’s a crying shame to see children half way through their education losing out on what they might be able to achieve.”
Progress Lodge 4120 and Wyre Lodge 7704 have both given £250 each.
Other help has come in from Hall Park Primary School in Lytham which has donated exercise and text books, Thomas Cook Airlines relaxed luggage rules to allow Mr & Mrs Rigg to carry over extra school equipment on their last trip to the country.