Big backing for choir’s thrilling tour of county

The Pearl of Africa Choir with Morpeth Mayor Joan Tebbutt and town council clerk Gillian Turner in the Mayor's Parlour.
The Pearl of Africa Choir with Morpeth Mayor Joan Tebbutt and town council clerk Gillian Turner in the Mayor's Parlour.
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PEOPLE of all ages across many parts of Northumberland have once again been enthralled by the performances of a group from overseas.

The Pearl of Africa Children’s Choir’s latest visit included concerts in Morpeth and they went into schools in Ponteland, Ashington, Blyth and Cramlington as well as the county town to share their culture and give workshops.

Audiences have commented on the sheer vitality and energy displayed in the dancing, singing and drumming during each show. Choir members in return have marvelled at the beautiful schools, the amount of food provided and the welcome they received in each community.

The main fund-raising activity of the UK-based charity Pearl of Africa Child Care (PoACC) is organising the annual choir tour and the money it raises supports the seven schools, clinic and homes run by the Molly and Paul Childcare Foundation in Uganda.

As a registered NGO and charity, the foundation provides orphaned and destitute children in the Kampala and Masaka districts with education, food, shelter and healthcare among other things. This provision includes farm schools, which enable children and young people to develop vital skills for their future.

Local PoACC organiser Rebecca Ansell said: “We are so grateful to the schools, host families, C4 Sightcare and volunteers who helped make this year’s visit to Northumberland particularly successful.

“Money is still coming is and we anticipate an excess of £18,000, which is fantastic given these difficult economic times.

“Fund-raising to support the 2,500 children in Uganda will continue throughout the year and new volunteers are always welcome.”

The children of the choir, aged 11 to 18, practice every evening after school and on Saturdays back in Kampala.

They will continue to thrill new audiences over the next two weeks in Darlington and Yorkshire before travelling on to Liverpool, Shropshire, West Midlands and Cornwall.

PoACC Trustee Colin Blyth said that some of the money collected will be used to buy basic food supplies or seeds for people in the districts to grow their own.

He added: “To help these children have a better start in life, we aim to support them through their education and the foundation also offers those in need a safe place to live.

“Schools lack resources such as books, paper and classroom equipment. Funds raised can make these resources available, improving children’s education and giving real choices.

“We also cover basic running costs, including teachers’ salaries.

“In a country where malaria is one of the biggest killers, it is vital that there is basic healthcare available. Money raised supports the diagnosis and treatment of eight to ten cases of malaria every day.

“Children and families need access to clean, safe drinking water that doesn’t cause illness such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea and we are able to support the installation and maintenance of boreholes and rain harvesting.”

Pearl of Africa Child Care is currently looking for volunteers to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in 2014.

For more information about the challenge or to make a donation, visit www.pearlofafrica.org.uk