A Stoke-on-Trent secondary school has sent thousands of pounds worth of life-saving aid to Sierra Leone to help fight the Ebola crisis.
St Joseph’s College, in Trent Vale, has pulled together donations from students, staff, families and the local community to provide food and medical equipment, along with Ebola kits, to West Africa.
Each load is airlifted to the affected areas, with each airlift costing £3,000.
The first tonne of aid was delivered today (Friday December 12).
St Joseph’s, which has been visiting Sierra Leone for seven years and has helped to fund a new school there, has been praised by Band Aid producer Midge Ure, who says he is “blown away” by the work of the students.
Roisin Maguire, headteacher at St Joseph’s, says she had been in touch with Midge for a while about doing something to help fight the problem.
She said: “He came here a few years ago, I kept in touch with him and emailed him and told him that this is really bad and we have got to do something to help.
“We have built a school there, the students and staff regularly visit the school to do teacher training.
“We know these people, we are connected, we feel they are our family.
“Somebody has to do something, because nobody is.
“A building out there that we were about to convert to a foundation for street children is now full of orphans. They’ve got nothing.
“The boys from the school out there are digging graves and they’ve got no protective gear so we have put together kits of wellies, all-in-one suits, masks, gloves and chlorine tablets.”
Denise Coates, owner of Bet 365, donated £10,000 on the first day of the appeal to help kick-start the campaign.
Ms Maguire added: “We had one lady come in recently offering £500 and she has no connection to the school.
“Everybody has really rallied together.”
Students at the school have bought the rights to a song, which they plan to re-record and sell, with all proceeds going to Sierra Leone.
Members of the public can also buy Christmas gift cards, which give an ebola kit in Sierra Leone to someone in need.
Contact the school for more details on 01782 848008.