Generosity will help villagers

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As we see every week in the pages of the Observer, the Hastings and St Leonards community is incredibly generous and good-hearted in its support of good causes.

Last Saturday’s jumble sale in aid of Hastings Sierra Leone, currently threatened by the ebola epidemic, raised more than £1,000.

The link would like to thank Christ Church St Leonards which hosted the event, and all those who provided goods or spent so generously. In the course of three days, the link filled 51 boxes with medical supplies, some of them purchased with the money raised, some donated by the Conquest and other health sector players.

This is being shipped out this week. At the moment, fear of ebola is making the Sierra Leone population extremely reluctant to attend hospitals or health centres, which means that figures for pre- and post-natal checks, immunisations and safe births at the health centre are down, and more babies will die from malaria, dysentery and all the other common causes of infant death in West Africa.

Mothers need to know that our village health centre is a safe place. The antiseptic supplies and basic protective equipment we have been able to provide will go some way towards that. However, we shall need to keep stocks topped up, and above all we need to restore the water supply to the health centre: the water-tower was recently demolished by a falling mango tree.

The link is using some of its remaining funds to get the water-tower rebuilt, and to pay for a new tank and a submersible pump which will function in the few hours in the day that the village has mains power. So, the need for funds continues.

As Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link is run on an entirely voluntary basis, it does mean that every penny that is given is spent on helping Hastings village, none is spent on overheads.

For the moment, the two ways to donate are through our website (www.hastingshastings.org.uk) or by cheque made out to HSLFL and sent to HSLFL Treasurer, 33 Senlac Way, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 7JG.

On Friday, October 17, Sussex Brass is headlining a Gala Hastings Week Concert for Hastings Sierra Leone, at St Mary in the Castle. Tickets (£15 and £10) include an African-style supper and are available from the Hastings Information Centre in Aquila House. It will be a great evening in support of a very worthy cause.

Robin Gray

Honorary secretary

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link