The launch of a book about life in a Wimborne village school has secured essential funding for a school for orphans in Africa.
Author Jill Mumford, former head of Hampreston near Wimborne, says that the book-signing event, highlighted in our last issue, raised £1,200 (and counting).
“Thank you so much for writing about our book launch,” she says.
“Several people mentioned that they’d found out about it in the magazine.
“It was a beautiful day and so many former pupils and their families came along.
“It was wonderful to see them again and hear about their lives now. Some brought their own children along which was exciting, but certainly marked the passing of years!”
Jill, whose memoir is called Those Were The Days, adds: “I signed books and was told the queue at one point involved a two-hour wait. It just shows how dedicated Hampreston people are. I would like to thank everyone who made the day such a success.”
Copies were distributed free, with recipients asked to donate to the Emily Collins School in Uganda, a project supporting abandoned children and named after one of Jill’s former pupils who died aged 26.
Despite being diagnosed with bone cancer at 16 and undergoing gruelling treatment which severely damaged her heart, Emily defied medical advice and
travelled to Uganda to do volunteer work that would help improve the lives of abandoned street children.
The experience profoundly affected her so she returned the following year with the same friends, alongside social worker Martin Duhimbaze, who then founded Our Father’s House Ministries, (OFHM), an organisation on a mission to get unprotected children off the streets and to educate them for a more secure future.
Emily stayed in contact with them and helped Martin to recruit friends in the UK to provide sponsorship for the children to attend school.
More than 140 children are now sponsored.
She succeeded, but sadly died in 2017.
As a lasting testimony to her selflessness, OFHM has named the school after her and so her legacy – and the fundraising – live on through family and friends.
Jill says: “Emily’s father was there to explain the charity and show slides of the work being done.”
On his website, her dad Stephen Collins says: “Martin humbly says that our daughter was instrumental in encouraging him to follow his dreams to reach out to the children and youth of Uganda, to set up OFHM and to see his vision for a child ministry centre realised.
“He and his team therefore asked if they might name the centre the Emily Collins School.
“Emily would have been delighted about the kindergarten, infirmary and community hall, but she would have argued vehemently against it being named after her!
“However, we see it as an honour and a lovely tribute to Emily’s love and compassion.”
by Lorraine Gibson