Zambia 5A group of students have returned from an “amazing” and “incredible” trip doing voluntary work in Zambia.

The sixth formers from Bede Academy, in Blyth, spent a fortnight in the African country providing home-based care for needy people in remote villages, building a toilet block and teaching and playing with orphans, many of whom had HIV/Aids.

The trip was organised by staff from Bede Academy and its sister schools in the Zambia 1Emmanuel Schools Foundation who had worked in Zambia. Students from each of the ESF schools joined the trip, which followed previous expeditions to South Africa.

The 17-year-olds stayed in traditional huts, travelled around in the back of an open truck, ate the local food which included nshima, a staple made from maize flour, and learned some of the local Bemba language.

Student Rachel Byrom said:

“It was so challenging and at times very emotional but also really amazing. I’m glad we all went through it together because we needed each other to talk to about some of the experiences we had.”

Laura Rolt added:

“On the first day of home-based care I met a girl called Hope, who was 13, had lost both her parents and was HIV positive. It was hard to take in with her being so young and we had to keep our emotions in. She didn’t speak or smile, but when I handed her a yo-yo I’d taken with me her face lit up. I’ve never seen a smile like it. It was the best feeling in the world.”

Zambia 4Laura, who wants to return to Zambia in a gap year after A levels, met another boy who had to walk for 45 minutes just to get water for washing.

After meeting a girl called Priscovia, who attended a school for the disabled for no other reason than she was shortsighted, Rachel bought her a chitenge, an Zambian fashion essential from a local market.


Callum Kewen said:

“For me it was really interesting to experience a different culture, such as seeing how important religion is to people there and the strong community spirit. They don’t have very much but they smile a lot. It made me more thankful for the things we have here.

“I would love to go back in the future, maybe to another African country to do more charity work.”

Even the non-work based activities were challenging, including sleeping under the stars and climbing the 2000m Mount Mumpu following a three hour truck journey and an eight kilometre hike.

For Kim Cole it was the hardest challenge of the trip.

“I’m scared of heights and I cried all the way, but I managed to do it so I was really proud of myself,” she added.

The other students on the trip were Jamie Brown and Jordan Holroyd.

Assistant vice principal of Bede Academy, Chris Young, said:

“All the students from each of the four ESF schools gelled tremendously well and really gave their all to the experience.”

The Bede students are to give a presentation on their trip to members of Blyth Rotary Club.

Young musicians perform in concert

Young musicians perform in concertYoung musicians lived up to the name of their new music teacher as they brought their school year to a crescendo.

Bede Academy Primary, in Blyth, has seen a record number of students learning to play a musical instrument this year who were keen to stage a summer concert for their families.

The Academy’s new musical director David Tallent led the youngsters through a sophisticated programme of solos, orchestral performances and choral pieces.

The repertoire included drums, trumpet, violin, piano and guitars with songs including For You, Cuba Mamma, O When the Saints, Hot Chilli, Mango Walk and the Skye Boat Song.

Mr Tallent said:

The children have not just learned to play technically but have also listened to the subtleties of the music and enjoyed it, which shone through in their performance.”

Headteacher of Bede Academy Primary Irene Watson told the audience: “It is an absolute privilege to teach the children and we have some extremely talented students.

We love listening to them practise and perform and they have become accustomed to playing before large audiences, which they do incredibly well.”

Students help out at Ministeracres

Environment Day 2013 YOUNG eco warriors have been doing their bit to go green as part an environmental awareness day.

Hundreds of students from Bede Academy, in Blyth, took part in a range of outdoor activities helping community organisations across the region.

More than 170 year eight students spent the day at Ministeracres Retreat, in Northumberland, where they were given tasks to complete including thistle bashing, grass cutting, fence mending, bird box making and undertaking a survey on the local wildlife.

The Academy’s year seven students visited Bede World, in Jarrow, where they helped to tidy pathways and hedgerows, while year nine and year ten students took part in a business and enterprise day at the Academy.

Head of science at Bede Academy, Dr Craig Sams, said:

“Each year we hold an environment day to get our students out of the classroom and into the local community to help undertake a variety of jobs.

“It gives our students a better understanding of how they can help to make a positive difference within their own community and also learn about the environment at the same time.”

A former 18th century manor house, Ministeracres is a retreat open to the public that sits in a 110 acre estate surrounded by grasslands, parks, lakes and ancient woodland.

It boasts the largest collection of giant redwood trees in the UK and is reputed to have been visited frequently by The Duke of Wellington.

Manager of Minsteracres Geoff Bockett said:

“We try to manage the estate in traditional ways by maintaining our flower meadows to encourage insects and small mammals, birds and wild flowers.

“In addition to restoring the meadows and woodland we also try to raise environmental awareness so school visits like this are very important to help the students re-connect with the natural world.

“If young people become interested in their environment at this age they will usually carry that interest on into later life.”

Student Olivia Logan, 13 of Blyth, added:

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this and it has been really good.

“We’ve done a lot of activities like raking the grass, clearing the pathways to make them more accessible to visitors and pond dipping.

“I like nature and the outdoors and it is lovely that there is no rubbish lying around here like there is in the town.

“It’s important that we learn how to look after places like this and keep them nice for the future.”