Appeal launched to help villagers amid Ebola crisis

Hastings locals from Sierra Leone holding up posters about Ebola
Hastings locals from Sierra Leone holding up posters about Ebola

An appeal has been launched to townsfolk to help residents in Hastings, Sierra Leone as they struggle with the Ebola outbreak.

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link said its members were moved by a letter from headteacher Sylvanus Campbell in last week’s

Richard Homewood, chairman of the link, said: “Members were obviously very upset, especially as many of us have met Sylvanus several times and have been to his school in our twin town in the West African country. The Sierra Leone authorities are clearly overwhelmed by the enormity of the crisis and is struggling to get help to the suffering communities. Thanks to the working relationship that it has built up over more than 10 years, the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link is well placed to get support to the schools and families where it is desperately needed.

“Last weekend’s paper reported that a number of us took part in a charity parachute jump to raise an estimated £2,000 for Hastings, Sierra Leone, and we’ve held other events too, like the Hastings Week gala concert which raised more than £2,500, a posh jumble sale which raised more than £1,000 and an African barbecue in St Helen’s Woods in the summer. We also receive help with fundraising from local businesses, generous personal donations and one of our patrons, Dain Jensen, has run in the Beachy Head Marathon and raised a further £1,400 single handed.”

Christine Boulton-Lane, chairman of the link’s health sub-committee, said: “The health centre is critical at this time and we recently sent out a large shipment of protective clothing, equipment and medical supplies to Hastings, Sierra Leone and have just sent additional funds to enable them to purchase more. We have also sent funds to purchase a generator for the health centre as the electricity supply is so unreliable.

“The council also helped with posters to raise awareness of Ebola and these have been circulated throughout the village. With the best will in the world this is only a drop in the ocean, the Ebola treatment centres in the Hastings area are both full, people we know personally are dying, including doctors and nurses. There are food shortages, prices have doubled, schools have closed and some of the teachers are no longer being paid. We desperately need to do much more to help if we are to help save lives.”

Any donations can be made online through or by cheque to Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link or HSLFL at HSLFL treasurer, 33 Senlac Way, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7JG.