Devizes couple's garden parties helps to create African school

This Is Wiltshire: rancis and Jill Chadwick are opening their garden to raise funds for a school in Uganda rancis and Jill Chadwick are opening their garden to raise funds for a school in Uganda

Fundraising organised by retired Devizes couple Francis and Jill Chadwick has helped establish a new school in Uganda and to pay for ‘scholarships’ for 14 children.

The couple has raised more than £20,000 in the past ten years through an annual garden party at their home, Hillway in Wickfield, and donations.

This has helped establish a new school in the town of Kasese in south west Uganda for orphans and children from poor families.

This year’s garden party is on Sunday, June 29, from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Mr Chadwick, 83, a retired Anglican vicar, said: “The garden parties raise about £700 each year. We usually get between 80 and 100 people throughout the afternoon. With other donations we raise between £2,500 and £3,000 a year.

“We have seen the school grow from a bare site to a fully functioning school with 500 pupils there now.”

The couple’s link with Uganda began after they met Bishop Jackson Nzerebende, the diocesan secretary, when they visited in 2002.

The school opened three years ago and new rooms have been added over the years. Originally the Chadwicks were asked to sponsor seven pupils but it has gone up to 14. It costs £75 a year per pupil.

Mrs Chadwick, 82, said the pupils are on ‘Devizes scholarships’.

She said: “The children know their fees are paid by people in Devizes. If they didn’t have this school, they wouldn’t go to school.

“About four fifths of the funding for the school comes from the bishop’s extended family and friends. They do a huge amount of fundraising as well.”

They have been out to Kasese several times and last November they saw the school functioning for the first time.

Mr Chadwick said: “The facilities are very basic but the children enjoy going to school.”

Anyone interested in getting involved can call (01380) 721489.

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