Northampton man with a big heart is appealing for 200 fun and educational shoeboxes for children in poverty

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A generous Northampton man, who has raised £10,000 to build a school in Africa, is appealing for people to donate 200 shoeboxes filled with fun and education material for disadvantaged children.

Druve Patel of Wootton went to 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.

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After five years, the primary school now has 171 children in full-time education and is the only school in the world which gives free malaria treatment to all their pupils.

Mr Patel said: “I went to Gambia over seven years ago and realised that there was severe poverty and parents couldn’t send their children to school, as not all schools are state run.

“The average wage in Gambia is £1.10 a day, and a school fee is £1. You might get one child in one family who goes to school.”

Mr Patel, who raised thousands of pounds to fund the school through charity events such as the London marathon and charity dinners, is appealing for shoeboxes as many children have never had a present before.

He added: “ We would like 50 percent to be filled with new or used toys and the other 50 percent should be a fun educational matter. We will record the boxes given to the children. It will create so much happiness and I thank everyone for their kind generosity. A little help gives a lot of hope.”

The boxes cannot be sealed as they need to be inspected prior to shipping.

The deadline for the appeal is October 15 and the shoeboxes can be dropped off at the Kingfisher club in Billing Aquadrome.