Hailsham charity gets boost from local teenager

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A HAILSHAM charity helping poverty stricken people in Uganda is to be given a boost by a teenager who suffers moderate disabilities.

Hannah Message, 17, a sixth form student at St Bede’s Senior School in Upper Dicker, was born prematurely, leaving her with some health difficulties.

But she has decided to go to Kabubbu this October as part of a voluntary trip organised by charity The Quicken Trust.

Hannah will today (Friday August 24) raise funds by taking part in a specially-designed sponsored triathlon.

She will cycle five miles and run one mile at Hythe, and swim 500 metres in Crowhurst Park, where she lives.

The Quicken Trust asks all volunteers to do some fundraising before they go as well as paying for the trip. Raising money through a sponsored triathlon was Hannah’s dad’s idea.

She said: “Dad is really sporty so I wasn’t surprised that he suggested it. It’s tough but I thought I’d give it a go.

“I wanted to raise about £600. Now I am on target to reach more than £1,000 which is just great.”

The Quicken Trust has been working in Kabubbu for 12 years, helping transform the lives of a village devastated by poverty, malaria and AIDS.

It has built a medical centre and two schools, helping hundreds of children get an education. Ongoing projects include foster care, adult literacy and vocational training for young people.

Geraldine Booker, director of development for The Quicken Trust, was impressed by Hannah’s effort.

She said: “Just thinking about her dedication, courage and commitment, leaves me exhausted.

“On the eve of the Paralympics, Hannah has been an inspiration to others in preparing for her triathlon. Many young people in Uganda with similar physical challenges have to also overcome the prejudices just to acquire an education. Children in Kabubbu will be amazed to hear her story.”

Hannah will work with schoolchildren in Kabubbu and her mum, Jenny, is going to work with some of the elderly in the village.

An added attraction is Hannah became close friends with a student from the village, Winnie, who studied at St Bede’s between 2008 and 2011 and is now back in Uganda, training to be a nurse.

Hannah said: “Hopefully we can keep it a secret, it will be great to see her again. She will be so surprised.”