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Pedalling preist raises thousands for Malawi meals

Date: 11 June 2013

A VICAR FROM THE DIOCESE OF GUILDFORD who raised nearly £16,000 by cycling from London to Paris in less than 24 hours is traveling into the depths of rural Malawi next month to oversee the meals in schools project he helped to fund.

The Revd Martin Wainwright, of St Paul’s Howell Hill and St Mary’s Burgh Heath churches, took on the 260-mile challenge at the end of May this year to raise money for the charity Hope4Malawi.

Martin, along with a team of 11 cyclists and six support crew, completed the journey in less than 24 hours and raised enough money to feed all 1,600 children in the Mpemba school, South of Blantyre, Malawi for a year and a half.

“Like all great plans it started with a mad idea in my head, then I went around and asked who else was up for the mad idea.” Martin said.

“One of the hardest parts of the challenge was getting up off the ferry, trying to rub all the sleep out of our eyes and jumping back on a bike at 5:30am, but the team really supported one another; it’s amazing what a little encouragement can do.”

The charity, whose trustees are all members of Martin’s congregation, has already raised £43,000 to put a kitchen in the school.

With it costing only £7 to feed a child at the school for a year. The staggering £15,800 raised from the cycling challenge will buy each child at the school one meal a day for well over a year.

Sara Goodman is one of six trustees of the charity, and started getting involved in 2008 after a family holiday to Malawi.

“We felt God prompting us to do more and more for the area by helping the schools and communities.

“Proper food aids concentration, and our prayer is that with a full meal provided at school, children will get a better education and a chance to get out of poverty.” She said.

Hope4Malawi aims to establish more schemes that will help sustain the community, such as chicken projects (where a family is given a chicken or a pig to rear and then one is given back to the charity to give to another family), irrigation and sanitation projects.

The Wainwright family, the Goodman family and three teenage friends will travel to Malawi to officially open the kitchen they helped fund, take school lessons and assemblies and lead a local pastors conference.

The volunteers will be teaching 2,000 pastors and their families, as well as running kids’ clubs and raising money for Bibles.

“Think Spring Harvest in Malawi, 2,000 people and only 14 of us to lead them. It should be fun!” Martin Wainwright said.

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