Generous man says thank you to Northampton people for hundreds of shoeboxes that poured in after appeal

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A kind-hearted man, who has helped collect hundreds of fun and educational shoeboxes for disadvantaged children in Africa, is saying thank you to the people of Northampton for their support.

Off the back of the Chronicle & Echo’s article in October, Druve Patel, of Wootton, has since delivered an incredible 382 shoeboxes to children in Gambia who have never before received a present.

Mr Patel visited Gambia seven years ago with a friend and saw that there was severe poverty in the country and had a vision of opening a school for 20 of the neediest children in the area of Jarra Soma.

The big-hearted man, who travelled to Gambia in November with six others to distribute the shoeboxes, told the Chronicle & Echo that he would like to thank “the beautiful people of Northampton” for the support they have shown.

He said: “This is the first time in that area that anyone has ever done anything like this. The children had never received toys before. It shocked them and then the realisation started and they began to shout with joy and happiness.

“There are 171 children now at the school and a waiting list of 1,000 kids, so the first 200 children on the waiting list for the school also got a gift.

“There are only four governors in the whole country and Governor Puye came along, who met up with the president that day, so this news has gone right to the top.”

After five years, the primary school now has nearly 200 children in full-time education and is the only school in the world that gives free malaria treatment to all their pupils.