Pensioner, 68, tackles West Worthing 10k in aid of schooling for Ghanaian children

A Haywards Heath pensioner is planning on running through Worthing to raise funds for Ghanaian children.

Melvyn Walmsley, a 68-year-old runner is taking part in the West Worthing 10k seafront race, next month.

Melvyn Walmsley after running one of his previous races in his Ghanaian uniform

Melvyn Walmsley after running one of his previous races in his Ghanaian uniform

Mr Walmsley plans on completing the course in under 59 minutes and hopes to raise £1,000 in sponsorship so child labourers can, instead, go to school in rural Upper East Ghana and have their lives transformed.

He was the Lovey Foundation’s first UK Chair from 2016-18, and he will again wear a school uniform sent to him from Ghana as his race kit.

He said: “We launched Lovey Foundation (UK) three years ago with members from Haywards Heath, Balcombe and Brighton and now we also have members in Kent.”

This is the third time he is running a 10k race for Lovey; the previous two were in Brighton in 2016 and Burgess Hill in 2017.

A few of the students that Lovey Foundation have help send to school

A few of the students that Lovey Foundation have help send to school

Mr Walmsley explained it all began when the charity’s secretary, Dr Yaa Asare, was in Ghana in 2012.

When she was there she met Aruk Thomas Lateef, an enterprising student teacher from Bawku Municipal Province in the Upper East region.

He said its size and population are similar to Mid Sussex’s, but that’s where the similarities end.

The main occupation there is subsistence farming, bad harvests mean disaster and many children break stones for sale, chop firewood and mind livestock instead of going to school.

The 2010 census also showed that male literacy for over 11’s was 58 per cent and female literacy just 39 per cent. With Yaa’s help, Thomas set up the Lovey Foundation in Bawku to change that.

Since July 2013 it’s been breaking down social, economic and cultural barriers which keep children, especially girls, from school.

Through its help, 147 children so far - some had to wait until they were 14 - have gone to primary school. Many walk or bike up to five miles each way to school, as cars and buses are rare. Already some of them have progressed to senior high school.

“This September, with readers’ support, we aim to raise that total to 200 Ghanaian children whose life chances are transformed,” Mr Walmsley added.

The charity raises funds to buy school stationery, bags, sandals and ‘tea and bread’ uniform material to make the golden shirts and brown shorts and sends them to the Lovey Foundation in Bawku.

The material is sewn into uniforms. For about £60, including shipping costs, a child in Bawku can be equipped to go to school.

To sponsor Melvyn visit: www.justgiving/crowdfunding/LF10krun2019 or www.loveyfoundation.org