Shrewsbury School

Restart Africa Sundowner Event

Friday 12 March 2021

In these troubled pandemic times, it is nice to see little glimmers of hope and ingenuity. It was heart-warming to see that Restart Africa’s idea to host an online ‘Sundowner’ event in conjunction with Shrewsbury School was met with enthusiasm and generosity.

Those of you who follow the school’s charity activity will have noticed Restart before. Ridgemount, Mary Sydney and Radbrook have been raising money for the charity and a group of ‘Top athletes’ involving some parents, teachers and pupils have been sponsored for running seven 10 kms over seven weeks for Restart and the Shrewsbury Ark. Restart is also heavily connected with Shrewsbury as Jules Winkley, Anna Peak and myself are all Trustees of the charity and Mary Coulson’s grandchildren Jolyon and Sophia are current pupils here with Benedict last year’s deputy Head of school having only recently left.

Restart was founded by Mary Coulson MBE in Gilgil Kenya in response to the violence that erupted after the elections in 2008. She had noticed the street children in and around Gilgil and founded the charity to give these abandoned, abused, and unwanted children a chance to live in safe and secure surroundings. The aim of the Sundowner event was to give friends, supporters, and newly interested recruits a chance to catch up with what has been happening at Restart whilst also hoping to attract new sponsors. The event was effortlessly hosted by LBC’s wonderful flagship presenter Shelagh Fogarty. She anchored the event and was responsible for introducing the assembled ‘zoomers’ to Stephen Sackur the eminent BBC journalist and presenter of Hard Talk. Stephen is the first patron of Restart and he explained why he was pleased to accept the invitation to be a figure head for the charity. His son had very much enjoyed volunteering at Restart, and he has been a firm fan of the charity ever since.

Over the course of the event Mary Coulson explained why the charity is still needed and the work it does and Annie Smith an ex-volunteer explained what volunteering there involves. Incidentally as I write this report Harry W (Rt) is currently volunteering there following in the footsteps of Minty P (MSH) and Tiggy C (MSH) who beat him to it by a couple of weeks!

If you are interested in the charity, please do have a look at the recording of the event. I challenge you not to smile at the video of young Esther showing you round! She may be responsible in a direct way for the evening raising over £3,000 in new donations. It looks like zoom is here to stay! If anyone is interested in volunteering, I am more than happy to point them in the right direction.

Giles Bell

Please follow this link for the Zoom recording. Access Passcode: QV77&e0?

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