Home   Kent   News   Article

Africans honour tireless fund-raiser

A KENT man has been made an African chief to mark his fund-raising efforts for schools in The Gambia.

Malcolm Reader and his wife, Sally, of Collingwood Road, Aylesford, near Maidstone, were declared citizens of the West African country in a ceremony in front of government ministers at the beginning of March, broadcast on national television.

Mr Reader received the honorary title of Alkalo of Bakau, the equivalent of Mayor of one the country's largest towns.

The 59-year-old, who works in the technical service department at Aylesford Newsprint, said: "They sent me this very colourful robe and it fitted like a glove, as if it was made to measure. It's a great honour. We've made a lot of friends out there over the years and I'm looking forward to going out there in September."

In September, the Readers' 19th container shipment of school equipment is due to reach The Gambia since the couple founded Friends of Gambian Schools (FROGS) nine years ago.

Desks, chairs, tables, books and medical equipment are collected at the organisation's base, at The Friars, Aylesford, before being shipped to West Africa.

This year, the Readers are planning to provide Girl Guide and Boy Scout uniforms for all the country's Scouts and Guides.

The couple started donating to Gambian schools after their first holiday visit in 1987, when Mrs Reader was invited to a school in her former post as Girl Guide overseas commissioner.

But Mr Reader puts the past 15 years' charity work down to chance. He said: "I fell off the roof of our house and broke my ankle, so we missed our summer holiday.

"We then decided to take a holiday in the winter and I stumbled upon The Gambia in a brochure."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More