Swimathon completed!

Dear Friends of St James

Thank you for sponsoring my swim for St James. During the 55 minute relay swim in which five of us swam a combined distance of 130 lengths of the 25 metre pool at Stockport Grammar School. Three of the swimmers were slowish but Richard, the team leader and I kept a good pace. I’ve never swam so fast! I was doing each 25 metre length in under 25 seconds, phew!

I was exhausted afterwards, with ‘wobbly’ legs but also felt good! I have never taken part in anything like this before, and I even got a certificate for my efforts!

Many of you have already given me your sponsorship so thanks for that. Those of you who have promised a donation to St James, can do so in cash; or cheque made out to BRICK by BRICK for St JAMES. My address is 3 Barclay Road, Poynton, Cheshire, SK12 1YY. If you wish to donate by bank transfer the details are below. Please let me know if you are doing a bank transfer then I can watch out for it and confirm receipt.

Thanks again. Love from me and all at St James!

Two days to go…. Swimathon for Joy Clinic!

Dear Friends of St James

Only two days to go before my swim to raise money to continue building a clinic for St James!

Thanks to all of you who have already received this email and have offered to sponsor my swim on Saturday. Please consider it if you have not yet done so. I hope you can help. Please read on……

Last Wednesday night I was invited to go to meet the Stockport Rotary Lamplighters and introduce them to my project at St James. They are very interested and want to book me for a presentation in a few months time when they have a free slot.

During the evening they were discussing the Swimathon to be held at Stockport Grammar School on 7th March to raise money for their favourite charities. I was asked if I would like to join one of their teams as they were short of numbers and that if I did I could keep any money I raised through sponsorship. So I am contacting all my friends to ask if you will once again please support St James by sponsoring me!

The Swimathon is on all day but I am on the 1.30 slot where I will join three others to swim as many lengths as we can in 55 minutes. I have no idea who the other swimmers are or how fast they swim so don’t know how many lengths I am likely to swim. If you are able to sponsor me it is probably best to do it for a set amount.

If you would like to know more please look at the Stockport Lamplighters Rotary website.

I will attaché my email and photos about Joy Clinic.

I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you at Izzi’s wedding!


Love Gerry

Click here for YouTube link 


Dear Friends

I still have quite a few newsletters to write up from my recent stay in Uganda but today I got some news that I can’t wait to tell you!

I called James as I had not spoken to him since being back. He was thrilled when he heard my voice as he was bursting to tell me something. Last week he got the results for St James’ pupils National Leaving Exams they took in November. EVERY eligible child from St James passed and the majority got 2nd Super Grade which is amazing!

There is only one grade above this and that is a 1st Grade. We have had a few first grades in the past but this to me is more rewarding, seeing most of the children achieving good results. Its not been an easy year at St James either as we have had lots of problems with staffing, children unable to pay their fees and adverse weather which prevented James harvesting enough food.

James says every child will be able to go up to secondary school too which is wonderful too. AND I have just remembered that 2004 was the first year that our children sat their exams at St James as it was awarded NUEB status (National Uganda Exam Board).

I feel so happy for James as he works so hard and really cares for every child.

He also tells me that he has all the staff he needs for this year and that the children have started to arrive and school doesn’t officially open until the 2nd Feb!

Now I must get down to more fund raising to help him in the only way you and I can do and that is by continue to build the school classrooms, dormitories, clinic, etc. etc. Still lots to do but I feel that you are with me on this journey and will not let me or our friends in Uganda down.

Thanks for all you have done so far and PLEASE keep up your friendship and support for St James.

Love Gerry x

Thank you for the 200 new desks for the children of St James!

Dear Friends of St James

I have been home from Uganda for just over a week and gradually settling down again though I always find it far more difficult than settling into my Ugandan life! I hope you had a lovely Christmas. I was greedy and had six Christmas’s! I had a wonderful time in Uganda though very different from my usual as the children were all on school holidays. I took out books to read, music to listen to, videos to watch but never used any of them as I was too busy having fun!

It was really good to be able to spend more time with friends and ‘family’. I spent a total of a week with one of our Ugandan ‘daughters’ Florence in Kampala, at the beginning and end of my stay, and then with my other young friends in between, many like Florence have been helped with their education by my family and friends. But mostly I was living with James and this enabled us to talk a lot about St James and try and iron out some issues. The school holidays also allowed James to take me on ‘tours’ of places of interest in Uganda as we had done for him when he came to the UK!

It was great to catch up with all that has been happening at St James and seeing Hambridge Hall in use was wonderful. James and I would like to thank all of you so much for raising money to buy 200 desks, fifty for each of the four classes in the hall.

I hope that one day there will be a desk for every child at St James! As you see by the attached photos many of you asked for your desks to be named and we gave the job to a local unemployed man who wanted to earn money to help feed his family. I wonder what the children will make of the names on their desks when they return to school next week at the start of the new school year.

I have also attached the YouTube link to a video I took inside Hambridge Hall showing the four classrooms and the new desks. We still have to finish the walls, and more importantly put in the ceiling. We would like to do the ceiling as soon as we can find the money as the pounding of the heavy rain on the metal roof during the wet season is so loud that teaching becomes impossible. Also now St James is a National Exam Centre the noise will not help those trying to concentrate on their Primary Leaving Exams every November!

Thank you once again for all your interest and support for St James. If you know anyone who could help us out with raising money for the ceiling please let me know. For instance, do you know anyone in the building industry that might like to sponsor the completion of the classroom block by building the ceiling and/or finishing the walls? The children and teachers at St James would be forever grateful to them and you!

Thanks again for all the interest and support for the children at St James Junior School, Nakakabala, Uganda.

Will be in touch again soon with more of the newsletters that I am writing up!

Love Gerry x

Click here to watch the video of the classrooms and desks

I’m home!

Dear Family and Friends

I arrived home yesterday, tired and dirty (clean dusty dirt!) but happy after a wonderful holiday. Yes it was a holiday compared with my usual ‘working’ holiday to St James! But it was just as much ‘hard work’ having fun all the time!

As I may have mentioned earlier I have quite a few stories to tell you about my stay and as soon as I can I will forward them to you. I expected my five weeks stay to be quiet and uneventful but it was far from that!

Thanks again to all of you who have kept in touch and donated to Joy Clinic. I will update you with the progress of that too.

Will be in touch again soon.

Love Gerry x