Calderdale volunteers' trip to Africa almost cancelled after travel firm fails to book flights

Charity volunteers from across the Calder Valley have had their Africa trip saved thanks to their kind-hearted community.

By sarah fitton
Monday, 1st August 2022, 1:57 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 1:59 pm

Emma Byrne, who teaches at Calder High School and lives in Heptonstall; her daughter Megan Hartley, who also lives in Heptonstall; Abbie Chambers from Mytholmroyd; Liza Bregazzi from Todmorden and Pippa Maudsley from Cragg Vale are travelling to Uganda next week to build a playground at a primary school there.

But the team were dealt a massive blow when they discovered the travel company they had given their money to had not booked any flights.

With less than three weeks to go, and not wanting to let down the group in Uganda expecting them to arrive to help, they faced the prospect of having to find the money for the now more expensive flights.

Some of the team of volunteers

Thanks to an online fundraiser and events held across the Calder Valley, including being given the proceeds from a quiz night at The White Lion in Heptonstall, they have managed to collect the cash needed to carry out the trip in the space of a few days, and in time to fly out to Africa next week.

“I have never before seen such incredible kindness and generosity,” said Emma, 52.

“I am over the moon to be able to fulfill our promise to the children of Namavundu Primary School and our fellow volunteers, who would not be able to complete the project without us being there.

“It takes a minimum of 12 adults to complete a two week build so the ones we are joining out there would have been left with a lot of work to do.

Emma on her first trip to Uganda

“Human kindness is the most incredible thing and I am blessed to know so many wonderful, kind and selfless people.”

Emma has been to Uganda four times, building and maintaining playgrounds for thousands of children.