Bumper year for school charity

Carlotta Johnson, co-founder of the Jitegemee School Building Project
Carlotta Johnson, co-founder of the Jitegemee School Building Project

MORE than £50,000 has been raised for an African school building project over the past year in tribute to a Hepscott resident.

Carlotta Johnson founded the Jitegemee School Building Project with her American sister Adele to raise funds to build a large primary school near Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The pair had answered a call for teachers in the East African country in 1966 and when they returned home they kept in touch with their former students. Forty years later, the students were working as teachers and told the sisters about their dreams of opening a primary school, and so the project was born.

Carlotta worked tirelessly to raise funds towards the £250,000 target, but tragedy struck in 2012 when she died after a short illness.

However, her family and friends were determined to carry on the project and various events have taken place, from sponsored swims to table-top sales. Afro-English drumming band Bombadinga led a musical tribute night and a charity auction was held, while a national medical organisation encouraged members to donate. There was also a memorial evening at Northumbria University.

Project Trustee and Morpeth resident Maura Illingworth said: “As a result of all these wonderful efforts, together with money raised in the USA by Carlotta’s sister Adele, more than £50,000 has been donated to the school building project during the past year. People have been very generous.

“The school is half-built now and there is still a lot of interest in the project.”

The next fund-raising event is a Grand Bargain Sale at St Robert’s Church Hall in Oldgate, Morpeth, on Saturday, from 10am to 2pm. There will be stalls, refreshments and a raffle.