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News Archive October - December 2014

16 December 2014 - FGM in The Gambia - Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread traditional practice in The Gambia, and is currently a divisive topic. As our members and sponsors have asked for more information, we thought you might be interested in recent interviews with Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian-born anti-FGM campaigner.

19 November 2014 - No Ebola in The Gambia - The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has so far not spread as far as The Gambia, and there is every chance the disease won't get there. At the moment there is no reason for anyone to cancel their holiday, but fear of the disease has resulted in a downturn in the tourism industry, which could have serious economic consequences for the country.
[more information about Ebola and The Gambia]

27 October 2014 - Shop online and raise funds for Pageant - Christmas is coming up fast. Many of you will be shopping online for presents, so why not raise some money for Pageant while you do so. EasyFundraising allows you to shop at over 2700 retailers, who make a small donation to Pageant, with no extra cost to you. Breaking news is that this service is now available on iPhones and iPads.
[how to raise funds with EasyFundraising]

13 October 2014 - New Gifts - We have revised our list of Ethical Gifts, and it now has two new gifts - a Practical Electronics Teaching Kit at 25 and a Practical Physics Teaching Kit at 40.
[see the full list of gifts here]

News Archive July - September 2014

23 September 2014 - New & Updated Pages - We have a new page describing Pageant's work at Humanity Nursery School, and we have updated the Wesley Primary School and Banjul Projects pages.

13 September 2014 - Updated Schools Index - We have updated our page which lists the Gambian schools and other educational establishments where Pageant has/had sponsored students, and where we have helped with various projects. [see the updated page]

27 August 2014 - More Goodies for The Gambia - Pageant team pack pallets for shipment (see details)

26 August 2014 - Pageant at West Horsley WI - Frances and friends gave a talk about their trip to The Gambia in April 2014. [see details]

7 August 2014 - UK Ambassador visits Gunjur - Sainey's latest blog post describes the visit of the UK's new Ambassador to Gunjur to look at projects supported by the Marlborough Brandt Group.

25 July 2014 - Sainey's new posts on our Blog - Sainey Darboe has just added three very interesting posts about life in The Gambia on our Blog.

9 July 2014 - Pageant helps Peace Corps Volunteers - PCV Laura Osterman is working at Pallol LBS and Laura Lyons is at Yallal Tankonjala LBS. Pageant has provided funding for essential building and renovation work at these schools. [details on our new PCV page]

News Archive April - June 2014

12 June 2014 - More Baby Photos - We have more photos of Wandifa & Miriami's new baby daughter Nyima. You can see them on this update.

6 June 2014 - Wandifa and Mariama's daughter is named Nyima at a naming ceremony on 24 May. We now have photos and you can see them on this page.

26 May 2014 - Bishop's Waltham Worldclass Fayre - Bishop's Waltham Junior School in Hampshire, recently held their 9th annual Worldclass Fayre. They raised a total of 424.80 for Pageant. See more about the Fayre on on the Bishop's Waltham Worldclass Blog, and read about the school's long association with Pageant on our Bishop's Waltham Pages. We at Pageant would like to say a big thank-you to the Worldclass children and and their teachers for their fundraising and continued support of Pageant's work in The Gambia.

25 May 2014 - Dresses for little Gambian girls - Dress a Girl Around the World is an organisation which believes that every girl in the world deserves to own at least one dress. Individuals and sewing groups in many countries make these dresses for girls in poor countries, and one of these groups is based in Horsham. Esther Clark and her friends produced 170 little dresses, which Esther and her husband took to The Gambia during Pageant's visit in February 2014. You can read about this in the West Sussex County Times, and in the May edition of 'etc' magazine, pages 128-129. We're not too sure how long this second link will be available, so if it doesn't work, you can look at the entire May edition, and scan through to these pages.

20 May 2014 - Double your donation! - Over the next 5 weeks, every Wednesday between 5pm and 6om, if you donate to any of Pageant's projects via Virgin Money Giving and then use PayPal, your donation will be doubled by the 555 Wednesday Giveaway. So if you are thinking of making a donation to Pageant, choose any of the links on our Donation Page and then select PayPal between 5 and 6pm UK time on these Wednesdays:

5-6pm Wednesday 21 May
5-6pm Wednesday 28 May
5-6pm Wednesday 4 June
5-6pm Wednesday 11 June
5-6pm Wednesday 18 June

PayPal has a total of 5,000 to give away on each Wednesday, so to ensure Pageant gets some of this, please make your donation as soon after 5pm as you can.

If you don't already have an account, then you can sign up with PayPal here. If you do a lot of online shopping, PayPal saves you a lot of time entering you card details, address etc on dozens of different shopping websites. Also while we're talking about online shopping, please sign up to Easyfundraising, and Pageant will get a small donation each time you shop.

18 May 2014 - A baby daughter for Wandifa and Mariama Wandifa phoned Pippa to say that his wife, Mariama, gave birth to a baby girl yesterday, 17th May.  Both Mum and daughter are well and Wandifa and his two sons are waiting eagerly for them to come home from hospital, probably tomorrow.  The baby weighed 3.5Kg at birth (7lb 11 oz) and her naming ceremony is to be on Saturday.  Wandifa was very keen for us to tell as many Pageant members as possible about the new arrival, so Pippa made the 'birth announcement' on the Pageant Blog. Linda will probably attend the naming ceremony, so we hope for some photos, which we'll publish on the blog and on this website. MANY CONGRATULATIONS from us all, Wandifa and Mariama, on the addition to your lovely family.

11 May 2014 - Sports Day at Jambanjelly LBS - The full story, including the preparations, of this event during Pageant's April Trip to the Gambia. See Pageant News Blog - see also this page of blog posts.

20 April 2014 - Pageant's April Trip to The Gambia - A Pageant team have just returned from The Gambia. They visited sponsored children, schools and nurseries. Frances and friends gave some creative lessons and had lots of fun with children in several nursery schools. Frances reported on their exploits on the Pageant News Blog. We have collected all these onto this page of blog posts.

News Archive January - March 2014

24 March 2014 - Richmond Riverside Run - On Saturday 22 March, Frankie and friends completed the Richmond Spring Riverside Run. They have almost raised their target of 2000 in sponsorship for Pageant.
[Latest update on this page]

23 March 2014 - GTS Maps - The now closed GTS website had some excellent maps of The Gambia. These have now been copied onto the Pageant website. [GTS maps index]

7 March 2014 - Gambia's entry for Peace Corps competition - This short but inspirational video was submitted for the 2014 Peace Corps Week Video Challenge, It was filmed in a Gambian village and features teachers and students at the local school and other members of the community.
[watch 'My Country'

4 March 2014 - Richmond Riverside Run - On Saturday 22 March, Frankie and friends will be taking part in the Richmond Spring Riverside Run. They are hoping to raise 2000 in sponsorship for Pageant, and are training hard. [Keep up to date on this page]

13 February 2014 - Pageant's February visit to The Gambia - A Pageant team is in The Gambia visiting schools and villages and also running some Science Workshops for student teachers. Kathy Groves is hoping to post news from The Gambia on the Pageant News Blog and we will collect these posts on this web page so you can see them all in one place.

24 January 2014 - Charity Shave-off - On 8 January Ian Challis took part in a charity shave-off, losing his beard and hair, and raising 200, which was split between Pageant and the Bangladesh Education Trust. [see details]

11 January 2014 - Mobile website? - Do we need to reconfigure the website for use on mobile devices [read more]

9 January 2014 - More children needing sponsorship - we have updated our sponsorship page, and there are 11 more children and young p[eople requiring sponsorship. [see details]

6 January 2014 - Pageant AGM will be held on Sunday 19th January 2014 at 2.30pm. All Pageant members are invited to attend.

News Archive October - December 2013

14 October 2013 - Chestnut Grove Comedy Evening - The Comedy Evening was a huge success, and raised a lot of money for Pageant and the village building project in Cambodia. [more on this news page]

News Archive July - September 2013

21 September 2013 - Comedy Evening at Chestnut Grove - Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham, South London are holding a Comedy Benefit Evening at 7:30pm on Friday 11 October. Tickets are on sale at the school for 15. The line up includes Arthur Smith, Kevin Day, Ivo Graham and Suzi Ruffell. Proceeds will be split between Pageant and a village building project in Cambodia. [more information]

25 August 2013 - Packing a container for The Gambia - On 23 August, a team of volunteers loaded a shipping container with a huge assortment of things for The Gambia - office & classroom furniture, books and lots of other goodies. Read all about it and see the photos.

14 August 2013 - Aid for Bongo-Bongo Land - There seems to be a mood in the UK to question the amount of aid that is sent to developing countries. An extreme example is a British politician talking about 'Bongo-Bongo Land' where aid is supposedly used to buy "Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris..." As we know at Pageant, the truth is very different, Please read this letter published in yesterday's Guardian newspaper which tells what really happens.

23 July 2013 - Pageant summer party 2013 - Pageant held its annual summer get-together on Sunday 14 July. It was the biggest so far with around 70 members attending. A splendid lunch was enjoyed in superb summer weather. Gambian knick-knacks were on sale, and as usual there was a raffle. Altogether we raised 455 for our work in The Gambia. [more details]

News Archive April - June 2013

27 May 2013 - Bishops Waltham Junior School Worldclass Fayre - The 2013 Fayre took place at BWJS on 20th & 21st May. The children raised an amazing total of over 500, which will be used to help Abuko Lower Basic School in The Gambia. [See Pippa's report]

16 May 2013 - Two New Ethical Gifts - Pageant's list of Ethical Gifts now includes a solar powered scientific calculator for senior students and a set of buckets for carrying water into vegetable gardens to irrigate the plants. See our complete list of gifts for more details.

27 April 2013 - CH visit - newspaper article - The Horsham local newspaper, the West Sussex County Times, published this article on 21 April, describing the visit of the Christ's Hospital team to The Gambia in February.

16 April 2013 - New Pageant Loan Scheme - Our latest Loan Scheme is now up and running in Siffoe.
see details]

15 April 2013 - Pageant's April visit to The Gambia - A Pageant team visited The Gambia for their regular April visit. They visited schools and villages and checked on how Pageant's sponsored children were progressing. Frances and Pippa posted their news on the Pageant News Blog, and managed daily updates, in spite of unreliable internet access. We have collected all their posts on this web page.

News Archive January - March 2013

24 February 2013 - Microscopy Wokshops - Latest News - The Microscopy Workshops at Gambia College have finished and some of the Pageant team have returned to the UK. Problems with internet access meant that they couldn't update the Pageant Blog. But Kathy has now posted her latest news, which we have copied onto this web page.

13 February 2013 - Pageant's February visit to The Gambia - Once again a team from Pageant is in The Gambia, visiting schools, checking up on Pageant projects and also running two Microscopy Workshops. There will also be four Christ's Hospital students with their own programme. We are hoping for lots of posts from people taking part in this visit, and all of these will be collected onto this web page.

6 February 2013 - Mali in better times - Pageant has benefitted from sponsorship raised by a number of teams driving the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. In 2007, one of these teams Shap Ahoy took part in a preliminary expedition before setting up of the new Bamako Challenge. Tim Lovatt and Nick Capron drove from the UK to Bamako, Timbuktu and many other places in Mali. Their story is detailed in a set of Pageant web pages which you can read here. They liked the people and country so much that in 2008 they drove to Timbuktu again. You can read here about this second trip. With Mali now in the news for all the wrong reasons, it is good to read their accounts and see their photos of this fascinating country. (Please note these are archived pages, so a lot of the external links no longer work)

4 February 2013 - CH visit to The Gambia Four students from Christ's Hospital (CH) will be accompanying Pippa & Ian to the Gambia on their regular February visit to The Gambia. They have an ambitious programme of activities planned, and we hope for regular reports on our News Blog. We are collecting all their posts onto this web page.

31 January 2013 - Photos of SHM Solar Pump System - We now have some photos of the solar cells, battery and inverter for the water pump at SHM Nursery in Gunjur. [see the photos]

29 January 2013 - infocus article 2012 Workshops We have a copy of the article written by Kathy and Pippa for the RMS 'infocus' magazine. [read the article]

21 January 2013 - Video of Pageant in The Gambia Frances Boswell has uploaded a marvellous video to Youtube, which shows some of the things Pageant does in The Gambia. [view the video]

9 January 2013 - Appeal to re-bore Bakalarr School well - Pageant is trying to raise 2050 to re-bore the well at Bakalarr School, and install a water storage tank, so that their vegetable garden can flourish once again. [see details]

5 January 2013 - Solar Pump Appeal  - In June last year, we launched an appeal to pay for the installation of a solar powered pump to raise water from a borehole at Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School (SHM Nursery) in the village of Gunjur. Our target was 1025, and we managed to raise 622. See this page for more details.

Gavin Sandison had raised 785 in sponsorship for his run in the 2012 New Forest Half Marathon [see details]. Gavin generously suggested that some of this should be used to make up the shortfall in the pump appeal, and Pageant were able to send enough money to get the pump installed. The pump was working in November 2012, it has since been supplying water for the school.

 A New Appeal - We are now in the process of setting up a new appeal to raise 2050 to re-bore a well which supplies the vegetable gardens at Bakalarr school. The 395 left in Gavin's sponsorship fund will be used to kick start this appeal, and we hope to announce further details shortly. You can see details of Bakalarr's vegetable gardens on this set of pages.

4 January 2013 - Pageant on Twitter - Pageant now has a Twitter account [see this link] We will use this mainly for quick links to news stories.

News Archive October - December 2012

20 December 2012 - Taking Stock of the Pageant Website - As 2012 draws to a close, we consider how the website should evolve, and ask for your feedback. more details

16 November 2012 - Pageant launches its 2013 Calendar - Our first calendar is no longer available.

2 October 2012 - Guardian Launches Africa Network The UK's Guardian newspaper has just launched its Guardian Africa Network. This is a blog featuring news and comment from and about Africa, in collaboration with many independent websites and solo bloggers. There will also be contributions from the Guardian's own correspondents and regional experts.

1 October 2012 - Photos of Gavin's Half Marathon - We now have some photos of the New Forest Half Marathon, including Gavin Sandison after finishing it. See Gavin's web page

News Archive July - September 2012

 27 September 2012 - Update on 1/2 marathon & triathlon - Gavin Sandison completed the New Forest Half Marathon in a time of 91mins 33secs, and has so far raised a total of 625 for Pageant. See more details on Gavin's web page. Tim & Laurence Dobie completed the London Triathlon in times of 2hrs 52mins and 2hrs 43mins respectively. To date, Team Dobie has raised 929.38 for Pageant. See more details on the Team Dobie web page.

On the day of the races, Pippa wrote on the Pageant Blog: "I felt that I must say a personal heartfelt thank-you to all three young men - Gavin, Tim and Laurence - who did so much today in support of Pageant. Your efforts will be enormously appreciated by our students and schools in The Gambia - we find that these Gambian people are always amazed that people such as you, who have never met them, nor even been to their country, should spend so much time and effort to raise money on their behalf. So, as they would say, 'A baraka bak' and 'Jere jef' to you all."

6 September 2012 - Update from Gunjur - Sue & Phil Taylor send a consignment of furniture to Gunjur Lower Basic School. Read more on Sue & Phil's Page.

4 September 2012 - Sponsor Tim and Laurence in the London Triathlon - The London Triathlon takes place on Sunday 23 September at the Excel arena in East London, with a 1.5km swim in the docks, 40km cycle and a 10km run. Brothers Tim & Laurence Dobie will be undertaking this grueling event, trying to raise 700 for Pageant. They now have their own Team Dobie Page on the Pageant website, or you can go straight to their Virgin Money Giving page to make a donation to help them reach their target.

30 August 2012 - Harvest Festivals - Gambia Food Crisis - Seed Collection - During 2011-2012, a prolonged drought throughout West Africa has caused serious crop failures. Our friends in The Gambia are now suffering a food crisis, with severe shortages and high prices. Crop failures also mean there is a lack of seeds for planting in the coming season. We are asking anyone who is associated with a Harvest Festival to collect packets of seeds, which Pageant will take to The Gambia this autumn.
this page for more details.

6 August 2012 - Pageant's Sports Day in Gunjur See our Facebook page for a video of Pageant's first ever sports day in The Gambia. [link to video]

4 August 2012 - Gavin Sandison is running the New Forest Half Marathon on 23rd September 2012, raising money for Pageant. Please help Pageant by sponsoring Gavin. See this page for more details.

News Archive April - June 2012

16 June 2012 - New Appeal for Solar Powered Water Pump - Following on from our incredibly successful appeal to replace the collapsed water tower at SHM Nursery, we are launching a new appeal to install and environmentally friendly solar powered pump to fill the tank from the schools borehole. Our target is 1025, the appeal has been kick-started with 315 left over from the water tower appeal.
more info]

13 June 2012 - Member's Get-together & Big Summer Raffle - Pageant's summer get-together for members will be on 1 July. As usual we will be having a raffle with some magnificent prizes, but this year we are inviting members who cannot attend to participate in the raffle. [more info]

10 June 2012 - Water Tower Appeal Exceeds Target - We raised over 720 for the SHM water tower appeal, more than our revised target of 655. The tank has been installed, the water supply is back and 160 three to six year old children can now get back to their lessons. Surplus donations will be carried forward to our next appeal, which will be to help Ahmed install a solar powered pump to fill the tank from the schools borehole. Watch this space for news of the solar pump appeal. [read the full story]

6 June 2012 -  Whipton Barton Junior School raise 410 for water tower - [more info]

4 June 2012 - New water tank installed - [more info]

31 May 2012 - Water Tower Update - Ahmed  Manjang tells us that the tank and its new support frame have been delivered, and he hopes to have the water supply restored by the end of this week, so that the school can re-open.  [more info]

26 May 2012 - Water Tower Appeal Update - Children at Sandcross Primary School in Reigate raised 192.60 by baking and selling cakes. Year six pupils at at Whipton Barton Junior School in Exeter will be running stalls at the school's Diamond Jubilee picnic on 1 June to raise money for the appeal. [more info]

12 May 2012 - Urgent Appeal for New Water Tower - The water tower at SHM Nursery in Gunjur has collapsed, and the school has had to close until it can be replaced and the water supply restored. Please help us with a donation to replace the tank. [Further information here]

29 April 2012 - Gambia Food Crisis - A drought covering much of west Africa during the 2011-12 growing season has resulted in a 70% reduction in Gambian crop yields, and an emergency has been declared.
more info ]

19 April 2012 - World Malaria Day - 25 April is World Malaria Day, when we should all focus on the fight to eliminate malaria. Read about the latest developments.

18 April 2012 - Distribution of mosquito nets - 64 sets of mosquito nets were distributed by Pageant in upriver villages of Jarreng and Kanikunda. See our news page

15 April 2012 - Blog posts from The Gambia - The Pageant team have returned from two weeks in The Gambia, where they visited schools and villages, and giving some 'fun' lessons to nursery children. Frances kept us up to date with daily posts on The Pageant News Blog. For your convenience, we have collected all these posts on this web page.

News Archive January - March 2012

29 March 2012 - It's Official! - Sarah Hayes finally gets certificate from Guinness World Records for the "Fastest marathon dressed as a bottle (female)". [more info]

29 March 2012 - Pound a Day - nearly 600 has been raised by Frances and Rachel. They are now off to The Gambia with lots of goodies for their 'fun' classes for nursery kids. [more info]

14 March 2012 - New Ethical Gift - Productivity of village vegetable gardens can be greatly increased by the appropriate use of fertilizer. We have a new ethical gift of a 50kg bag of fertilizer, which can be shared between many gardeners. (see our list of gifts)

12 March 2012 - Pound a Day - This is the week! - Frances and Rachel will be attempting to live on 1 a day from today until Friday 16, to raise funds for their teaching trip to The Gambia.
(more information and sponsorship link)

11 March 2012 - Microscopy & Science Workshops Update - Chris Robertson's report on the Waves topic is now published. (see report)

9 March 2012 - Wordsmiths Wanted - Your Chance To Write A Short Story - Pageant is now working with Julie Laslett and Caroline Webster, who recently ran one-day workshops in the Gambia on ‘Creative Writing’. Via this website, we hope to build up a story bank of short, fictional stories, which can be used by teachers in The Gambia. To find out more and learn how you can get involved, please click here.

8 March 2012 - Newspaper report on Pageant Workshops - Horsham newspaper 'The Resident' has a report in its current edition about Collyer's part in the Pageant workshops. This can be read in their online edition by following this link.

7 March 2012 - A Pound a Day - A Pageant team are off to The Gambia in April, and will visit three nursery schools to take some fun lessons in art, English and sports. Frances and Rachel are raising funds to buy materials for their fun classes. As a challenge, they will try to eat and drink for less than 1 a day during the working week. (more information and sponsorship link)

2 March 2012 - Microscopy & Science Workshops Update - Our Workshops 2012 Page now has subsidiary pages with reports about Microscopy, Electricity and Chemistry.

9 February 2012 - Microscopy & Science Workshops - Chris Robertson is one of the Pageant team running these workshops in The Gambia, and he is posting regular updates on our  Pageant News Blog. For your convenience we are collecting his posts on this page as soon as they appear on the blog.

7 February 2012 - Brighton Teachers in The Gambia Tom Kimber a teacher at Westdene Primary School in Brighton has organised a group of teachers on a week-long visit to Albion Lower Basic School in Banjul in the February half-term break. This will allow the two schools to further strengthen their relationship, and lead to significant learning opportunities for both Westdene and Albion pupils. (see news page)

2 February 2012 - Science and Microscopy Workshops Pageant's Science and Microscopy Workshops will be starting in The Gambia in a few days time (see details). Pippa is already there, and the other members of the team are flying out soon. Chris Robertson will be keeping us up to date with news by posting to the Pageant News Blog. See his first post now: Day -4.

24 January 2012 - Artemisia Ambassador Pageant has appointed Lamin Njie as 'Artemisia Ambassador'. Following training at Gambia's National Agricultural Research Institute, he will tour The Gambia providing training and support to help village communities grow and use their own crops of Artemisia annua - a plant with proven anti-malarial activity.  (more about the Artemisia Project)

4 January 2012 - News from Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School - Ahmed's feeding program and a new classroom.

News Archive October - December 2011

19 December 2011 - Pageant AGM Our next AGM will be held on Sunday 22nd January 2012. All members are welcome. Please see our members page for details.

13 December 2011 - Letter of Thanks - Pageant has received a letter from the Mr Obasi, Headmaster of the Seventh Day Adventist School in Serrekunda, thanking us for receipt of donated classroom furniture. (see letter)

12 December 2011 - Motic donates 50 microscopes for Microscopy Workshops - The European arm of Chinese microscope manufacturer, Motic, has made a very generous donation of 50 microscopes for use in Pageant's forthcoming Microscopy Workshops in The Gambia.
news item and details about the workshops)

7 December 2011 Updates: Goats Page - four kids born to goats donated by Pageant; Sarah's Page - Taps installed and working at Barra-Essau school; Workshops Page - More people to thank.

3 December 2011 - Get 'Find and Remind' Toolbar and Pageant gets 50p - This week only. (details)

29 November 2011 - Microscopy and Physics Workshops 2012 - Details about the workshops to be held in February 2012 are now on this Workshops page .

18 November 2011 - Two New Ethical Gifts - We have added two items to our list - a Science Teaching Kit and a book Teaching Practical Physics Anywhere. Both are used in our highly successful Practical Physics Workshops. (see our List of Gifts and see below for details of our next workshops)

15 November 2011 - More Pageant Workshops for 2012 - In February 2012, Pageant will run both Microscopy and Practical Physics Workshops for trainee science teachers in The Gambia. The Microscopy Workshops will be funded using 3,185 from the Royal Microscopical Society Vice Presidents’ Award 2011. (see this news page)

12 November 2011 - Shop Online and Raise Money for Pageant - Easyfundraising is a shopping directory with over 2000 online retailers on its list. If you shop via Pageant's page, these retailers make a donation of a percentage of the purchase price to Pageant, but it doesn't cost you an extra penny.
see further details)

4 November 2011 - Sarah Hayes fundraising to bring water to Barra-Essau school See Sarah's webpage.

11 October 2011 - Sarah Hayes' own account - Read Sarah's own account of her epic day when she broke the Guinness World Record. See Sarah's webpage.

9 October 2011 - Sarah Hayes beats Guinness World Record - Sarah's time in the 2011 Chester Marathon was 4hr 33min 59sec - a new record for the fastest marathon dressed as a bottle (female). Congratulations to Sarah on her incredible achievement. See Sarah's webpage for more details.

2 October 2011 - Sarah Hayes gets approval for the bottle - At last, Guinness World Records have approved Sarah's bottle costume for her record attempt on the fastest marathon dressed as a bottle (female). See Sarah's webpage for more details.

News Archive July - September 2011

25 September 2011 - Sarah Hayes & Berlin Marathon - Sarah has completed her last preparation run before the Chester Marathon. See Sarah's webpage for more details.

25 September 2011 - Two unexpected donations - totalling 600 from MOFEST & Spalding High School (see news page)

19 September 2011 - Pleasure Singers Concert raises 354 for Pageant (see further details)

13 September 2011 - Sarah Hayes and the Bacchus Marathon - Sarah completed the 26.2 mile hilly course in a few seconds over 5 hours on Sunday 11 September. A good time, seeing it was the first official outing for the bottle costume 'LG'. See Sarah's webpage for more details.

8 September 2011 - Sarah Hayes costume revealed - Sarah will be running the Chester Marathon on 9 October dressed as a bottle of Loweswater Gold. She will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon by a woman dressed as a beer bottle. See an exclusive peek at her costume on her webpage.

6 September 2011 - Sarah Hayes & Toad Challenge - Sarah ran 90 miles from Oxford to Walton-on-Thames along the Thames National Trail over the three days, 2-4 September. She came 14th overall with a total time of 17h 50m 30s.
her webpage for more information about on this and her next challenge - The Bacchus Marathon.

22 August 2011 - More Goodies for The Gambia - 4 pallets of schools furniture and other lots of other goodies are on their way to The Gambia. (see news item)

22 August 2011 - Sarah Hayes runs the Seaford Marathon. See her webpage for more information.

6 August 2011 - Donation of Microscopes - Tyne Metropolitan College has given Pageant 20 optical microscopes. We plan to use these for more Practical Microscopy Workshops in The Gambia, and then supply them to schools and the teacher training college. (see news item)

1 August 2011 - Sarah Hayes - Adidas 24 Hour Thunder Run - Sarah completed 120km (75 miles) in 24 hours. See her webpage for more information.

27 July 2011 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - The challenge to drive from the UK to Banjul is on again later this year. There's still time to sign up! (more information)

26 July 2011 - Sponsor Sarah - Sarah Hayes will be running the Chester Marathon in October dressed as a beer bottle, and is also hoping to win a Guinness World Record. She is trying to raise 1500 for Pageant. See her webpage for a link to sponsor her attempt.

26 July 2011 - New Zealand artist sponsors Gambian student - Pageant's Sponsorship Scheme has spanned oceans with New Zealand artist Allie Eagle sponsoring Mola, a University of The Gambia student. (read the story)

24 July 2011 - TV Programme - Did you see the programme 'Holiday Hijack' on Channel 4 at 8 pm on Sunday 24 July? This featured The Gambia and despite the hype, it showed where Pageant goes and what we do. We hope that it will encourage holiday-makers to go out of their hotels to see the 'real' Gambia and meet the delightful people. If you missed it you can see it online by clicking this link, or if you have cable, see it on 'Catch-up TV on Demand'.

23 July 2011 - Sarah Hayes Latest - Sarah ran the 50 Mile Challenge (double marathon) in Kent on 17 July in a time of 12 hours 13 minutes See more details on her webpage,

23 July 2011 - Lauren & Dan's Blog - Lauren Rickwood and Dan Langdon taught in three Gambian schools, as part of their Education Degree Course. They told their story in this blog, and now we have brought this material together into a single website page.

16 July 2011 - Sarah Hayes' Chester Marathon - Sarah will be running the Chester Marathon in October dressed as a beer bottle. She will be sponsored by Cumbrian Legendary Ales,

13 July 2011 - Pageant's Facebook Page - Did you know that Pageant has a page on Facebook? We want our members to use this page, so we needed a 'username' to give us an easy link to the page. In just two days we got our 25 fans (people clicking the 'Like' button), so we can now announce our permanent link:      

10 July 2011 - Lauren and Dan's blog - Lauren Rickwood and Dan Langdon have just completed three weeks of teaching in three Gambian schools, as part of their Education Degree Course. Lauren has visited The Gambia many times, taking part in Science seminars and other Pageant schemes. They have produced their own blog, with regular posts telling their story. Read all about it by clicking this link.

5 July 2011 - Sarah Hayes' preparations for Chester Marathon - Sarah will be running the Chester Marathon in October, and is preparing by running a whole series of marathons and super-marathons. We have the results of three of these races on her webpage,

News Archive April - June 2011

30 June 2011 - Donate by Text Message - JustTextGiving is a new free service provided by Vodafone through Just Giving. Vodafone are paying JustGiving's costs for 2 years, and there is no charge to send the text no matter what network you use. Simply text 'PAGE26 10' to 70070 to donate 10 to Pageant. You can donate 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10, up to 30 a month. All of your donation goes to Pageant, and you can add GiftAid by following the instructions in the reply to your text.

22 June 2011 - UK recession affects sponsorship - Difficult economic conditions in the UK have meant that some of Pageant's sponsors can no longer afford to sponsor children in The Gambia. If this is  your predicament, please let us know (see our contact page), so that we can arrange a new sponsor as quickly as possible. Our Emergency Sponsorship Fund, which aims to keep such students at school until a new sponsor is found, is now not large enough to meet demand, so support for this is now more vital than ever. Please consider making a donation to this fund (see further details). If you can afford a long term commitment, then please consider sponsoring one of the 47 students, ranging in age from 3 to 23, who are currently seeking sponsorship. Several are in urgent need owing to their current sponsor being unable to continue to support them. See our Sponsorship Enquiry Page for a complete up-to-date list of all students seeking sponsorship.

4 June 2011 - Play Equipment for Gambian Schools - Sue and Phil Taylor have already shipped a container load of outdoor play equipment to a Gambian nursery school, and are now fundraising to cover the costs of sending further containers (read about Sue and Phil's project)

1 June 2011 - Sarah Hayes to run Chester Marathon Sarah has entered the 2011 Chester Marathon, and will be raising sponsorship for Pageant. Not content with running 26 miles, she will run dressed in a unique outfit to earn a place in Guinness World Records. See details on her webpage,

29 May 2011 - Practical Physics Workshops - Pageant ran these workshops over three days in February, and we have only just got round to a detailed report on this website! (see our updated page)

27 May 2011 - Banyaka Lower Basic School - Chestnut Grove School funds windows and floor tiles for the new school library. (read the story)

26 May 2011 - Humanity Nursery School gets help from Pageant (read the story)

26 May 2011 - Update on Modou Lamin - Last year we took the unusual step of appealing for funds for Modou Lamin, who had his deformed leg amputated at the knee. The appeal aimed to raise 700 for the cost of materials and multiple appointments for limb-fitting, physiotherapy etc. Your generosity meant that we more than DOUBLED that amount. Modou Lamin now has medical and physio support assured for several years to come. He is now able to walk unaided and play football. (read Modou Lamin's story)

24 May 2011 - Stolen Goats - Our Goats Page tells the story of how Pageant's generous supporters raised an amazing amount of money to replace seven goats stolen from a poor Gambian family, with enough left over to buy goats for two more poor families.

5 May 2011 - Sarah Hayes to run the Chester Marathon for Pageant - Sarah Hayes has entered the 2011 Chester Marathon, and will be raising sponsorship for Pageant. The race takes place on 9th October, starting and finishing at Chester Racecourse, and passing through stunning Cheshire and North Wales villages and countryside. See Chester Marathon website for more details. Sarah has previously raised money for Pageant by running the Marine Corps 10k race in Washington DC. See details on her webpage, which we will keep updated with more information as we get it.

25 April 2011 - Pageant Team in The Gambia - Pippa, Tina and Frances have returned from their visit to The Gambia, where they helped with some "creative Art and Science lessons" in several schools. They also visited families, and bought some goats! Frances posted daily reports on our News Blog, and we have collected these posts onto this page.

6 April 2011 - New Ethical Gifts - Following the overwhelming response to our stolen goats appeal, we have decided to add a goat to our list of ethical gifts. We have also added Artemisia annua plants, which will allow village communities to grow their own effective remedy against malearia. (see details of our Artemisia Project) One ethical gift has been dropped from our list. We no longer suggest the integrated desk unit, as it is very difficult to organise fabrication of just one of these, and anyone chosing this ethical gift would have to wait until there was sufficient to make a reasonably sized batch. (see our List of Gifts)

4 April 2011 - Stolen Goats - Updated - We reached our original target of 240 within 5 days, so we increased it to 450 so that we could replace all 7 goats and build a secure enclosure. The total now stands at a staggering 818.14 - enough to build a shelter, replace all the goats, with possibly some extras, and also give some goats to another poor family. The appeal will close shortly. Our grateful thanks to all who have contributed, especially staff at ERA Technology, and members of St John's Church, Broadbridge Heath. See this news page for more information.

News Archive January - March 2011

23 March 2011 - World Malaria Day (25 April) marks global efforts to control malaria, working towards zero malaria deaths by 2015. Pageant's small but significant contribution is providing mosquito nets to families, and encouraging villagers to grow artemisia annua plants, which can be used to combat the effects of malaria. Help us fight malaria by buying a mosquito net as an ethical gift (more info)  See our complete List of Gifts, Read more about Defeating Malaria and about our Artemisia Project.

8 March 2011 - Help us replace some stolen goats - A very poor family in The Gambia has had all 7 goats stolen. These goats were the only things of value that they possessed. Pageant has launched an urgent appeal to 4 or 5 of these goats. We are trying to raise 240. Please see this news page for more information and to make a donation.

21 February 2011 - Science in The Gambia - Pageant has organised Workshops for Science Teachers in The Gambia to complement the handing over of 13,000 worth of educational science equipment donated by Technology Supplies Ltd. (more about the Science Workshops)

1 February 2011 - Message from Yankuba - Yankuba Ceesay is Pageant’s assistant agent with special responsibility for the up-country regions on the South Bank such as Jarreng. He sent us a message to be read out at our recent AGM, and we thought we should share it with you. (read Yankuba's message)

30 January 2011 - Microscopy Workshops Article - The current issue 20 of 'infocus' magazine, published by the Royal Microscopical Society, has an article about the Microscopy Workshops held in The Gambia by Pageant in February 2010. (see PDF version of the article)

15 January 2011 - Sainey Darboe's article in 'Today' - Sainey Darboe lives in in Gunjur, in the southern part of The Gambia, and is a law student at the university. He is a regular contributor to the Pageant News Blog. Sainey pays for his books and travel by writing freelance articles for 'Today', one of The Gambia's most important newspapers. We thought you might like to see a sample of his very professional work in the online version (click this link). He comments on the effects of the recent increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs. This highlights the problems currently faced by families who are even more in need of sponsorship to send their children to school.

12 January 2011 - Changes to Gift Aid - Transitional arrangements will end on 6 April 2011 and the amount Pageant gets back for Gift Aided donations will fall. Please help us by bringing forward any donations you intend to make to before this date (more details)

6 January 2011 - Pageant AGM - The ninth AGM will be held at 2:30pm on Sunday 30 January 2011, at Old School, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9DT. All members are most welcome, and should have received an email invitation.

6 January 2011 - New Ethical Gifts Pages - Please have a look at our newly updated gifts pages. The original gifts page now forms an introduction to Pageant's Ethical Gifts Scheme.  There is now a complete list of gifts on its own page, with a new layout, which we hope will make it easier for you to choose your ethical gift.

3 January 2011 - Happy New Year from Wandifa - Wandifa Saidykhan, Pageant's agent in The Gambia, wishes to all Pageant members happiness and good health for 2011. (more details)

News Archive October - December 2010

16 December 2010 - Defeating Malaria - The World Health Organisation's World Malaria Report for 2010 reveals encouraging progress in the fight against malaria, but warns that strenuous efforts are required to achieve the target of eliminating malaria in Africa by 2015. In The Gambia, the National Malaria Control Programme has achieved impressive progress in reducing infection and deaths from malaria.  (more details)

9 December 2010 - New tiled floors at Sheik Hatab Nursery School - Pageant has paid for new tiled floors throughout the school, at a cost of 1400, with 545 of this donated by Pageant member Andrew Rattray in memory of his brother. (more info & photos)

1 December 2010 - Baby Girl for Bakary and Mariama - Bakary Gitteh, headmaster of Bakalar School, has sent us the wonderful news that his wife Mariama gave birth to a baby girl, named Oumie, last week. Oumie is a sister to Fatoumatta, Nyima and Pippa. I'm sure that all our readers will join in sending their best wishes to the Gitteh family.

27 November 2010 - Virgin Charity Credit Card - Virgin's new credit card allows you to donate your cashback to your chosen charity. (more details)

26 October 2010 - Teaching student raises money for Gunjur nursery Nicola Biles, a teaching student at the University of Cumbria, organised a Moonlit Fancy Dress Sponsored 10 mile Walk, raising almost 500 for Aj Sherimang Nursery School in Gunjur. (more details)

13 October 2010 - Container Items for Jarreng - Some of the contents from the latest container were for the upcountry village of Jarreng. Our agent Yankuba and driver Abdoulie undertook delivery of these items. Yankuba sent us a message, which we think we should share with you all. (see details)

10 October 2010 - 1000 Donation We are pleased to announce a donation of 1000 to Pageant's Emergency Sponsorship Fund. (see details of our Sponsorship Programme) Our grateful thanks to the generous donor, who prefers that his name is not published.

8 October 2010 - Container Unloaded Linda Murgatroyd reports from The Gambia that our container was unloaded on 6 October. Wandifa and his team all worked very hard and all went well. Unfortunately they didn't have time to take photos. The two additional pallets of furniture were not available at the time, so these will be unloaded later.

7 October 2010 - Hilary Emery Nursery School Photos Kira Dalton has sent us some photos showing the children enjoying their splendid new facilities at the Hilary Emery Nursery School. (more details)

1 October 2010 - Container Arrives The Banjul Port Authority has just told us that our latest container has arrived safely. (see details)

1 October 2010 - Bananas We have photos of some banana plants at Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School (see photos)

News Archive July - September 2010

11 September 2010 - New Nursery School Opens - JTT Nursery School has reopened in its brand new buildings, and has been renamed the Hilary Emery School. See our new page for more details. We will shortly be bringing you more news and photos.

27 August 2010 - Packing the container - The Southwater school furniture, together with more furniture we have collected over several months, and many items of sports kit and other clothing have been packed into a 3/4 size container, which is now on its way to The Gambia. (more details)

12 August 2010 - Classroom furniture from Southwater Junior School - Pageant has just collected 122 classroom tables and 431 chairs from Southwater Junior School. These will form part of the next container load to be sent to The Gambia, which we will be packing on Friday 27 August. (more details)

1 August 2010 - New leg for Modou Lamin - In May 2010 Pageant launched an appeal to provide Modou Lamin with a new prosthetic leg, with a target of 700. We are pleased to announce that your generosity has exceeded our expectations, with a total of 868 raised. We have closed our appeal for the time being, though we might re-open it as Modou Lamin grows and needs further prosthetic treatment. We continue to use Modou Lamin's page to keep you updated on his progress.

25 July 2010 - Pageant's summer party (more details)

News Archive April - June 2010

11 June - JTT Nursery School - the very last photos as the new buildings are completed. (more details)

14 May 2010 - New Library at Siffoe Senior Seconday School - see photos

12 May 2010 - New kitchen at Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School - see photos

10 May 2010 - New leg for Modou Lamin - Pageant launches an appeal to raise 700 to provide Modou Lamin with a prosthetic leg. (more details)

5 May 2010 - JTT Nursery School building progress - Work on the new school is progressing very quickly with all the walls completed up to roof level. The new buildings will almost certainly be ready for use for the new school year this autumn. (more details)

27 April 2010 - Donation of Science Kit - Technology Supplies Ltd has given Pageant a truly amazing  13,000 worth of science kit for Gambian schools (more details)

13 April 2010 - JTT Nursery School - The school hopes to move from its current cramped premises to new buildings on a new site, with funding mainly provided by the The African Oyster Trust.  Pageant member Aris Harrison-Price is sponsoring a university course for teachers at this school. (more details)

6 April 2010 - Pencil collection at Westdene Primary School - pupils at this Brighton school have collected 2800 pencils, crayons etc. for children at two schools in The Gambia. (more details)

News Archive January - March 2010

5 March 2010 - Another son for Wandifa - Pageant's main agent, Wandifa Saidykhan, and his wife Mariama are the proud parents of a second son, Ebrima Ian, born on 21 February 2010. (more details)

23 February 2010 - Microscopy Workshops - The Pageant team have nearly completed the workshops, and we have updates from Kathy Groves on our News Blog, with an edited version on this page.

2 February 2010 - Microscopy Workshops - The Pageant team will shortly leave for The Gambia, taking with them virtually all of the equipment for the workshops. (more details)

2 January 2010 - Microscopy Workshops - Two more suppliers Edulab and Northern Geological Supplies are supporting these workshops.  (more details)

News Archive October - December 2009

14 December 2009 - Chestnut Grove School in Balham, London has strengthened their connection with Banyaka Lower Basic School in The Gambia. They already have links between the pupils at both schools, and have helped Banyaka LBS in many ways. They have now decided to use Pageant to deliver the results of their regular fundraising for Banyaka LBS, and have given us 500 for the sponsorship of two pupils and a project at the school yet to be decided. (more details)

29 November 2009 - Vivace! Concert in aid of Pageant at Southwater Church on 22 November has raised  191.53 for Pageant.  (see details)

28 November 2009 - Sheik Hatab Memorial Nursery School in Gunjur opened a year ago with the help of donated furniture supplied by Pageant. We are now financing renovations to the perimeter wall, and then we plan to provide funding for a new kitchen. (more details on their new webpage)

22 November 2009 - Microscopy Workshops - We are planning to run Microscopy Workshops for teachers in The Gambia so they can pass on  practical microscopy skills to their students. Pageant has been awarded 3,000 by the Royal Microscopical Society Vice President’s fund to help set up the first workshop in February 2010. (more details)

15 November 2009 - Pippa and Ian's latest Gambia trip - Pippa has posted details of their recent visit to The Gambia on the Pageant News Blog. We have collected the posts on this web page.

14 November 2009 - Gunjur Loan Scheme - We have started one of our loan schemes at Gunjur, with 6 local ladies recieving a micro-loan to start a small business. (see details)

25 October 2009 - Sarah Hayes has completed the Marine Corps 10k race in Washington DC, with a chip time of 49 mins 18 secs, equalling her personal best. See Sarah's page for more details and pictures of the race, and to make your sponsorship donation.

19 Oct 2009 - Virgin Money Giving - We have a new online donation facility at Virgin Money Giving. Check out our home page on their site. Virgin Money Giving offers free sign-up to fundraisers and then an easy way of creating your own fundraising page. They also charge Pageant much less for processing donations, and get the money to us quickly.

7 Oct 2009 - HopeFirst Foundation's work at Jurunku - This USA based charity is now helping the school and village, and has installed a solar power system at the school. (further details)

4 Oct 2009 - update on Sarah Hayes - Sarah's latest 10km races in preparation for the Marine Corps race were the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield, with a time of 53 mins 41 secs, and the Marple 'Trail' run with a time of 49 mins 59 secs, followed by the 5k Manchester Tree-Athlon in 23 mins 43 secs. See Sarah's page for more details.

News Archive July - September 2009

5 Sept 2009 - unloading container in The Gambia - emails from Pageant's team there

25 August 2009 - Golf Day in Wales - Postponed  (further details)

23 August 2009 - update on Sarah Hayes - Sarah's recent preparations for the Marine Corps 10k race have included 10k races at Hackney and Warrington, with steadily improving times. See Sarah's sponsorship page.

15 August 2009 - Computer viruses in The Gambia - How are viruses affecting computer users in The Gambia, and what can we do to help. See post on the Pageant News blog.

12 August 2009 - update on Sarah Hayes - Sarah has now raised sponsorship of 860 through Pageant. In preparation for the Marine Corps 10k race on 25 October in Washington DC, she has done hill training in Italy, and has run in 3 10km races in the UK. Help her to raise funds for Barra/Essau Upper Basic School. See Sarah's sponsorship page.

29 July 2009 - Another container for The Gambia - On Tuesday 28 July 2009, a Pageant team packed another container for The Gambia. This contained library shelving units, classroom furniture, school uniforms, sports clothes and equipment, general clothing, books, toys, tools etc. (further details)

21 July 2009 - Horsham Rotary Club Charity Fair  - was held in Horsham Park on Sunday 19 July 2009, as part of the District Council Festival. As previously, Pageant had a stall there, selling Gambian craft items and publicising our work in The Gambia. With many other attractions, visitors spent less time at the Charity stands. Even so, we made 113 on the day and had several interested visitors. (further details)

19 July 2009 - Open House for members - Pippa and Ian hosted their annual 'Open House' day for Pageant Members on 12 July 2009. This was attended by over 50 of our enthusiastic members, who enjoyed the sunshine (we were very lucky with the weather!), buffet lunch, drinks, tea and coffee as well as chatting about all things Gambian. See this news item for a full description and photos.

9 July 2009 - Golf Day in Wales - Two Pageant members are organising an open Golf Day at Blackwood Golf Club near Cardiff, on Saturday 12 September. Teams of four are invited to play 18 holes for 40 per team. All proceeds will be split between Pageant and Macmillan Cancer Care. (further details)

7 July 2009 - Sarah Hayes, Marine Corps 10k race - Sarah is running the Marine Corps 10km race in Washington DC on 25 October 2009, raising funds to help Barra/Essau Upper Basic School in The Gambia. For further information, see Sarah's sponsorship page.

6 July 2009 - lots of updates - We have updated quite a number of pages with latest news. Members will already have seen most of this in the Newsletter which was sent out recently:

Kings Kid Academy - completion of lots of building work, Art and English sessions

Bakalarr BCS - completion of new staff accommodation

Brikamedina Nursery School - refurbished classrooms in full use

Sika Women's Village Market - a big success story for Pageant loans

1 July 2009 - Elena raises €200 for Pageant - After a visit to a school in The Gambia, Elena Tassi has raised €200 to say thank-you for their hospitality. Pageant would like to use this to help the school - but first we need identify which school it was! (more details and pictures)

News Archive April - June 2009

9 June 2009 - Microsoft moves the goalposts - Pageant's webmaster complains about Internet Explorer 8.0 and how it doesn't display Pageant's web pages properly. (read more)

24 May 2009 - Nigel Walsh has completed the 2009 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, running the 89.17km between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in a time of 11 hours, 35 minutes and 42 seconds. See his webpage for more details.

30 April 2009 - Gambia Trip - The final instalments have now been posted on the Pageant News Blog, and have been added to our news page.

29 April 2009 - Nigel Walsh runs the 2009 Comrades Marathon - On 24 May 2009, Nigel Walsh will tackle the 56-mile Comrades Ultra-Marathon in South Africa for the tenth time. It is the biggest sporting event on the South African calendar, attracting fields of between 10,000 and 15,000 runners to a tough, steeply undulating route between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. He will be raising funds for Pageant's projects in The Gambia, so please sponsor him if you can. (more details)

28 April 2009 - Bumper Bundle for Jarreng - Christmas 2008 produced the largest ever amount donated for mosquito nets through the Pageant Ethical Gift Token scheme. We received enough money to buy 50 family sized nets, which we took to Jarreng for distribution. (more details)

28 April 2009 - Artemisia Project update - A herbal tea made from the leaves of Artemisia annua variety Anamed is an effective ant-malarial treatment. Pageant has so far financed the Gambian National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) to grow and provide Artemisia annua seedlings to two groups of five villages, oversee their continued cultivation and advise on harvesting and preparation of the tea. See update on our Artemisia Project page. If you would like to help raise 2500 to fund the next group of five villages, please send a cheque or you can donate online.

26 April 2009 - The Big Read - Worldwide, there are 774 million illiterate adults, 75 million children out of primary school and 226 million children not in secondary school. Nearly all governments have promised ‘Education for All’ by 2015. The Big Read is taking place across the world, with distribution of a free book of short stories by leading figures, Nobel Peace Prize winners and award winning authors. The Gambia's highlight event will take place at Gambia College, (the national teacher training centre). Stories and testimonies from Gambia’s celebrities and learners are being presented against a backdrop of songs on the theme of adult literacy that have been written by trainee teachers. There are also events taking place in literacy centres across the country. See more on this Gambia Observer news item.

23 April 2009 - Gambia Trip - from the Blog - Pippa, Tina, Frances and Claire have just returned from a two week trip to The Gambia. Frances posted news items on our News Blog during the trip, and both Sainey and Alhassan Darboe added their descriptions of the 'up-river' trip to Jarreng. We are collecting all the posts and pictures together on this news page. and will add to it as more posts appear.

News Archive January - March 2009

28 March 2009 - Updates to Schools Index - We have added to new schools to our Schools Index, and also implemented an alphabetic menu system for finding particular schools. (See our Schools Index)

18 March 2009 - Alhassan Darboe wins essay prize - One the Pageant Blog team in The Gambia, Alhassan Darboe, has won first prize in a 'Black History Month' essay competition organised by the US Embassy in Banjul. He received a number of prizes, including $250 in cash. (more details)

13 March 2009 - djb donate more science equipment - Derek Walker, who runs djb microtech, has generously donated more sets of school science equipment. Pippa took these to several schools in The Gambia during her recent trip. (more details)

20 February 2009 - Abuko Visit - June & Brian visited Abuko Lower Basic School during their Gambian holiday (more details)

19 February 2009 - Gambia Visit - A party of Pageant members is currently visiting The Gambia. Helen Groves has posted a number of reports on their visit on our Pageant News Blog. Keep checking for the latest updates.

5 February 2009 - Nursery Furniture arrives in The Gambia - Linda Murgatroyd tells us that the consignment of nursery furniture and other items has arrived and is being distributed. (details of packing)

1 February 2009 - 350 from Braintree church - Pageant would like to say a big thank-you to the members of Christ Church in Braintree, Essex. They have a tradition of not sending individual Christmas cards to each other, but all signing one large card. They then put the money that would otherwise be spent on cards and postage into a fund to help a chosen charity. This year they chose Pageant, and contributions were linked to items in the nativity story, and to Pageant's ethical gifts scheme: Joseph - Carpentry Tools and Training; Stars - Solar Lanterns.

26 January 2009 - Pageant AGM The seventh Pageant AGM took place on Sunday 25 January 2009. It was attended by 49 members. See this news item for more details. Next year's AGM has been provisionally set for Sunday 24 January 2010.

14 January 2009 - Nursery School Furniture for Gambian Schools - Furniture donated by Shelley Primary School and Littlehaven Infant School is being sent to nursery schools at Campama and Gunjur. (more details)

2 January 2009 - Pageant Annual General Meeting - will be held on Sunday 25 January 2009 at 2.30pm at Old School, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9DT. All members should have received an email invitation.

2 January 2009 - Plymouth Dakar Challenge - For the first time in several years, there are no teams in the challenge raising funds for Pageant. However, we thought you might like news of this year's event. The challenge is now split between four destinations, two of them new.

News Archive October - December 2008

15 December 2008 - Trafalgar School Secret Market - Pageant's stall at the 'secret market' held at the school on 11 December raised 170. This will be used to support the link between Trafalgar and Kings Kid Academy in The Gambia. (more details)

26 November 2008 - Vivace! Concert - the acclaimed Sussex choir Vivace! gave another successful concert in Southwater Parish Church. on Sunday 23 November. There was a varied programme, ranging from plainsong to songs from Broadway shows and African music. The concert raised 236 for Pageant after paying all expenses. (more details)

20 November - Update from JTT Nursery School - photos of the progress made at this school over the last year or so. (see details)

14 November - Ethical Gifts for Christmas - We have pleasure in announcing our completely updated Ethical Gifts page - just in time for Christmas. We have a list of Ethical Gifts starting at just 6.50, including items offered in partnership with the Gunjur Environmental Protection and Development Group.  We have finalised the prices, after some large variations in the exchange rate between the UK Pound and the Gambian Dalasi, and have simplified the list by removing items which very few people have purchased. Regretfully, we have dropped the popular 'donkey plus' gift, as the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust only have sufficient resources to look after donkeys already on the scheme. (see the Gifts Page)

1 November 2008 - News from The Gambia - Pippa and Ian are in The Gambia. Our Blog Team there is keeping us in touch with their activities on our News Blog. (see details)

5 October 2008 - New school year starts in The Gambia - With the start of the new school year, we have updated our list of students requiring sponsorship. (see details)

5 October 2008 - Fundraising and Donations Update - Pageant has recently received nearly 6000 raised during fundraising events. (see details)

News Archive July - September 2008

25 September 2008 - Gambia Guide and Promotion Books - Andy Robinson of Affording Gambia VIP has announced the new 2008/2009 'Discovering with Discount' Guide and Promotion Books, which provide an invaluable guide to The Gambia and offer discounts to shops restaurants etc. which can more than cover the cost of the books. Andy has generously offered to make a donation to Pageant when anyone purchases either or both books after visiting our news page.

23 September 2008 - Packing a container - A bunch of Pageant members have just finished packing a container with furniture, educational supplies and other goods. (see details)

2 September 2008 - Open House July 2008 - Pippa and Ian hosted their annual Open House day for Pageant members on Sunday 20 July 2008. (see pictures)

1 September 2008 - Fundraisers Page - Pageant has now registered with MyCharityPage, so anyone planning an exciting challenge or other fundraising event can use this to channel their online sponsorship donations to Pageant. Find out more on our fundraisers page.

25 August 2008 - Donations from two schools - The William Barcroft Junior School in Cleethorpes has donated 216.33, and the Bishopsgate School in Egham has donated 500. (see details)

News Archive April - June 2008

17 June 2008 - Progress in building work - Building work has progressed well in four schools, taking full advantage of the period before the rainy season begins.

  • Brikamedina is a village on the southern edges of Brikama town. The village started a nursery school as a local initiative, on land donated by the village mosque. Pageant is funding completion of the building work here. (see details)
  • At Bakalarr, work is progressing on the construction of an accommodation block for school staff.  (see details)
  • Kings Kid Academy are constructing a new classroom block. (see details)
  • At Siffoe, they have finally completed work on a new block of five classrooms. (see details)

16 June 2008 - Toilets and Textbooks - Nigel Walsh has completed Comrades Ultra-Marathon (56 miles) in South Africa. He finished the gruelling race in 11 hours, 16 minutes and 15 seconds. (see details)

6 June 2008 - Schools Index We have produced an index to Gambian (and UK) schools which Pageant is associated with - both those with major projects, and those which just have sponsored pupils. We have used Google Maps to plot the location of each school. Sometimes this is just the general area, but in many cases in 'satellite' mode you can zoom in to see the actual buildings. Our Schools page contains an enormous amount of information, so there are probably lots of errors. If you spot anything you think we have got wrong, then please let us know.

26 May 2008 - Toilets & Textbooks - Change of Plan - The team will not be able to visit Kings Kid Academy in July to construct the new toilets. Instead local tradesmen will build the toilets.

20 May 2008 - Maps showing Gambian schools - We have created a number of Google Maps which show the exact location of many of the schools which Pageant is associated with in The Gambia:

Make sure you select the 'Satellite' view, and in many cases you can zoom in to see the actual buildings. Please let us know if we have got anything wrong.

1 May 2008 - Ridgemede Junior School now has its own page on the Pageant website. In their most recent fundraising event, they have raised 421 to sponsor children and provide educational equipment at Abuko Lower Basic School.

15 April 2008 - Nigel Walsh will be running in the 56 mile Comrades UltraMarathon in South Africa on 15 June to raise money for the Toilets and Textbooks project. See further details and a link to sponsor him.

10 April 2008 - Mahmoud Achten Nursery School - This is the latest school to be brought under Pageant's umbrella. John Emery and Jane Bull have been helping this school for over a year, and have achieved some great improvements. A lot still needs to be done and the school will need continuing support.

9 April 2008 - Foundation for Disabled People update - hand over of 15 wheelchairs built with the money from the Mayor of Haslemere’s fund.

8 April 2008 - Quotes from sponsored children - Read what our sponsored children have written in letters to Pageant.

5 April 2008 - Furniture shipment from Harwell - UKAEA and NDA joined forces with Pageant to ship surplus furniture to schools in The Gambia.

5 April 2008 - Toilets and Textbooks - Students from Oakham School and Copenhagen International School will be travelling to The Gambia in July to build new toilets for Kings Kid Academy. See our new web page for further information. You can also donate online to help their efforts.

News Archive January - March 2008

20 March 2008 - Chris Robertson's Gambia Diary - Chris has compiled a diary (with pictures) relating his exploits during his visit to The Gambia in February. This complements the blog postings included in Live from The Gambia.

18 March 2008 - Revised Sponsorship Costs - For the first time in seven years, Pageant has had to increase the cost of sponsoring children and young people's education in The Gambia. (See note about revised costs)

16 March 2008 - Five new members for the Blog Team - We are pleased to announce that we now have five new contributors to the Pageant News Blog in The Gambia. Meet the new team members.

13 March 2008 - Breaking news from The Gambia - We are in the process of signing up team members in The Gambia who will be able to report directly on local news relevant to Pageant's activities. Our first new team member, Lamin Jammeh, has made his first post. Check the Pageant News Blog for the latest news from The Gambia.

5 March 2008 - Live from The Gambia Pageant members Frances, Lauren, Rosie and Sarah have spent a large part of their recent trip to the Gambia teaching at KMJ Nursery School and Campama Lower Basic School in Banjul. Following this Frances, Lauren and Rosie, together with Ian, Pippa and Chris, made a trip up-country to visit schools at Bakalarr, Jarreng and Jurunku. Later they visited more schools in Banjul. During this time, Frances has kept us up-to-date with their exploits on the Pageant News Blog. These reports have been copied onto our Live from The Gambia page as a permanent record.

30 January 2008 - Transplant Titans have reached Banjul They left Manchester on Friday morning, 11 January, heading for Portsmouth and the overnight ferry to St Malo. They then drove south via Bordeaux, crossed the Pyrenees into Spain, spending the night at Burgos. From there they drove across Spain to Tarifa, and spent a whole day there. On Tuesday 15 January they took the ferry to Tangier, and drove to Rabat for an overnight stop. Their journey through Morocco has featured overnight stops at Marrakech, and Ouarzazate, and Sidi Ifni. On Saturday 19 January they drove to Laayoune in Western Sahara, and on Sunday headed south to Dakhla. After a day's rest, they headed into Mauritania and the desert, where mobile phones don't work. After three days, they were in touch again and had a rest day at Zebrabar just inside Senagal. On Sunday 27 January, they set off on the final leg of the journey across Senegal and into he Gambia. They caught the early morning ferry across the Gambia River and arrived at the finishing point at 9.15am on Monday 28 January. On Tuesday and Wednesday they visited Kings Kid Academy and other schools, and were given a tour of rural Gambia by Pageant agent Wandifa. (see daily progress reports)

20 January 2008 - The 4Ts adventure is over The teams left the UK on 26 December, travelled by ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in Spain and drove through Spain to Tarifa. They  crossed over to Morocco by ferry reaching Fez on 29 December, and then via Er-Rachida, reaching Tata on 2 January 2008. They left the Atlas Mountains and headed south along the coast into Western Sahara, camping near Laayoune. On 5 January, they crossed the border into Mauritania, reaching Nouakchott on 6 January and crossed the desert towards Nema. By 10 January they were into Mali and reached Timbuctu on 11th. On 12 January, they visited the Festival of the Desert. On 13th they returned to Timbuctu, where they sold both cars, and set off to tour Dogon country using a hired car and driver, with overnight stops at Mopti, Djenne and Segou. They spent a day relaxing in Bamako, before flying home via Casablanca. So that's the end of another adventure! We have some new photos, and hope to have a full report on their trip soon. (see daily progress reports)

5 January 2008 - Trouble in Mauritania The Lisbon-Dakar Rally has been cancelled due to the shooting of four French tourists in Mauritania. This may affect teams taking part in the Plymouth-Bamako and Plymouth-Banjul Challenges. (see news item)

3 January 2008 - Transplant Titans ready to go on 11 January Final preparations are in hand for departure in a weeks time. We will bring you news of their progress as we get it.  (more details)
Also, the Transplant Titans Blog was launched today, giving you an alternative way of keeping up with the latest news.

News Archive October - December 2007

19 December 2007 - Transplant Titans charity event raises 7000 (more details)

16 December 2007 - 4Ts Itinerary (more details)

10 December 2007 - preparations for the 4Ts Adventure going well (more details)

27 November 2007 - Vivace! concert raises 350 for Pageant (more details)

23 November 2007 - Oliver's page In August, 7 year old Welsh schoolboy Oliver collected a large number of pens and pencils for children in The Gambia. Pippa and Ian have now distributed these to the children of Albion Lower Basic School in Banjul. Oliver has also become pen-friends with Abdoulie, a boy at this school. See Oliver's page for the full story and pictures.

21 November 2007 - the 4Ts Adventure Shap Ahoy (well half the team) is off to Mali again. Tim Lovatt and three friends are driving two Toyota Landcruisers to Timbuktu. This is not a fundraising event, but at the end both cars will be sold and the proceeds given to Pageant. (more details)

14 November 2007 - Ridgemede Junior School now have an excellent Worldclass page on their website, which covers their links with Abuko Lower Basic School.

13 November 2007 - News from Campama Pippa and Ian have just returned from their latest visit to The Gambia. They visited Campama Lower Basic School, which Pageant started to help earlier this year. Chairs and desks for the Grade 2 pupils arrived by container, and desk units for Grade 1 pupils have been constructed by a local carpenter.  (more details)

12 November 2007 - Ethical Gifts for Christmas Today we are launching our range of Ethical Gifts for Christmas in partnership with the Gunjur Environmental Protection and Development Group. See our Gifts Page for the full range.

12 November 2007 - Wheelchairs for disabled students 2500 from the Mayor of Haslemere's charity appeal has been donated to the Foundation for Disabled People in The Gambia, so that they can make a batch of their special 'all terrain' wheelchairs for disabled students. (more details)

8 November 2007 - No sweets please! One of the little sponsored girls Pippa saw in October has all her front teeth decayed to stumps due to sweets! The headteacher at her nursery school says it is a real and increasing problem, particularly if a school gets lots of European visitors. If you are visiting The Gambia, please do not take sweets for the children, take toothbrushes and toothpaste instead. If you MUST take sweets, then how about sugar-free chewing gum.

6 November 2007 - Transplant Titans get their car Hany and Titus have acquired a Toyota 4Runner four wheel drive car. We have also started a Sponsors Page to officially thank people and organisations who are helping Transplant Titans. Also remember their charity event on 28 November.

5 November 2007 - Updated sponsorship enquiry page We have reviewed our list of children and young people in The Gambia who are seeking sponsorship to allow them to continue their education. About 60% on our enquiry page are new entries on our list.

25 October 2007 - Our website has successfully moved to new servers You should not notice any changes in its appearance or the way things work. However, if you find pages that don't load, or have any other problems, please contact contact pageant webmaster

15 October 2007 - Transplant Titans charity event - Manchester, 28 November 2007

11 October 2007 - Mellow-Yellow - A third team in the 2008 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge has contacted Pageant with an offer to help carry things to The Gambia. Team Mellow-Yellow, Cillin Whelan & Lindsay Rountree, is in Group 8 which starts on 4 January 2008.  They will be starting from Dublin, but passing through England on their way. They will be driving a 1980 Mercedes 280CE.

3 October 2007 - Millennium Health Microscope - latest update, more funding from the USA.

1 October 2007 - Donation of Scientific Equipment - Derek Walker, who runs djb microtech, has made a generous donation of school science equipment worth 400. It includes equipment to study light, magnetism, solar energy and heat. Pippa will be taking this to kit to The Gambia later this month. Pageant would like to say a big thank-you to Derek for this generous gift.

1 October 2007 - News from Bakalarr - Pageant has received an email from Bakary Gitteh, headmaster of Bakalarr School.

News Archive July - September 2007

29 September 2007 - Foundation for Disabled People is a Registered Gambian Charity, which produces wheelchairs specially designed for use on unmade roads in developing countries. They are looking for financial help from UK organisations to continue and expand their work for physically handicapped people in The Gambia. Find out more about the Foundation, and please read their proposal and get in touch with them or us if you can help in any way.

28 September 2007 - Ginger & Turk - We have a second team helping Pageant in the 2008 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. Team 8928, Ginger & Turk, consists of Michael Shooter and Guven Ozsanlav. They have just acquired a Range Rover in Wales and successfully driven it back to Yorkshire - a good omen for it to make the 4000 miles to the Gambia! They claim not to be good at fundraising, so any money raised for Pageant will be incidental (accidental?) However, they have offered to collect and transport stuff for schools in The Gambia. They already have their own website, and we will soon have a page for them on the Pageant website.

25 September 2007 - Packing Days - On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September, a group of Pageant members got together to pack items for Gambian schools, ranging from pencils to furniture. (read more)

24 September 2007 - Transplant Titans to help Pageant - We are please to announce that team Transplant Titans, taking part in the 2008 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, will be fundraising for Pageant. Hany Riad and Titus Augustine are transplant surgeons at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and as well as helping Pageant, they will be raising funds for transplant research projects. Keep up to date with their preparations and progress on their team web page.

17 September 2007 - Kings Kid News Update - Kings Kid Academy has started the new term with an influx of new children, and has recruited four extra teachers. Read the news update from headmaster Jacob Amadi.

30 August 2007 - Oliver's pen collection - Oliver, a 7 year old Welsh schoolboy, has collected over 1,350 pens and pencils for children in The Gambia. (read more)

25 August 2007 - Millennium Health Microscope - The MHM Foundation has just been awarded a 15,000 grant by the East of England Development Agency to assist the development of the Millennium Health Microscope, bringing the total raised so far to nearly 20,000. Read more about the MHM on our web page and on the MHM website.

18 August 2007 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Preparations for the 2008 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge are now under way. This will be the eighth time the Challenge has been run. A total of 132 teams have entered to drive the 3,700 miles from the UK to Banjul the capital of The Gambia, while another 128 teams intend to drive 4,100 miles to Bamako the capital of Mali. The first group of teams start for Bamako on 12 October 2007, the first group for Banjul start on 19 December, and the last groups for both places start on 11 January 2008. Teams are on their own, with no formal assistance, and there are rules governing maximum costs of vehicles and preparation - which are generally ignored. Two rules which must be obeyed are: All vehicles must be left hand drive and all vehicles will be auctioned for the benefit of local Gambian Charities. In 2007, the auctions in Banjul raised 109,000. Read more on the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge website.

In past Challenges, a number of teams helped Pageant by raising sponsorship, or by transporting things to Gambian schools and villages. If you are in one of the teams in the 2008 Challenge, and are looking for a good cause to help, then please consider Pageant. If you are thinking of taking essential educational items to The Gambia, then Pageant's agents there can help with getting them to the right place. In return for your help, we can provide you with pages on our website to help with your publicity and fundraising. If you know anyone who is in the 2008 Challenge, then please tell them about Pageant. Please email us for more information. Also have a look at the web pages of teams who helped us in previous challenges:
2006 Shap Ahoy, Super Trooper and seven other teams who helped us.
2007 Ibrakeforcake, Desert Mice & First to the bar and Ice Cold Teams

13 August 2007 - Kemo has left Pageant - We are disappointed to have to report that Kemo Ceesay has left Pageant at very short notice and is no longer in our employ. Wandifa Saidykhan is to be commended for the way he has stepped into the breach in Kemo’s absence and we have had several emails from members returning from The Gambia, saying how well he has looked after them. We are delighted to say that one of our longest-standing members, Linda Murgatroyd, will be working in The Gambia from September. Linda, who has great experience of both the people and the education system of The Gambia, has agreed to oversee Pageant business for us until we can make permanent arrangements.

27 July 2007 - Fundraising news - Pageant has recently been the grateful recipient of fundraising. 1000 was raised by Horsham Rotary Club, 3700 was raised by Haslemere's Mayor, Brian Howard, during his year of office and David Harding, landlord of the Boar's Head in Horsham, raised 127 at an 'Out of Africa' evening.

18 July 2007 - JJT Nursery School, is in Serrekunda. Aris Harrison-Price has made helping this school her personal project, enlisting help from many schools, organisations and individuals in and around Leicester. In 2005, this school had over 130 pupils, with just one teacher and a dilapidated  classroom. Aris has organised redecoration, arranged the building of toilets, provided educational equipment and funded a new teaching assistant.

News Archive April - June 2007

7 June 2007 - Ethical Gifts in Action - Pageant's Ethical Gift Scheme has now been in operation for about 18 months. Our new page shows some of the people who have received these gifts. It includes the story of a couple, who at their wedding, decided to give Pageant Ethical Gift Tokens to the bridesmaids, best man, parents, ushers etc as 'thank you' gifts. (page now deleted)

30 June 2007 - IceCold fundraising total - Pageant has just received the final cheque from Ice Cold in Bakalarr for 2677.41, bringing the total raised for Bakalarr BCS to 4,803.19.

29 June 2007 - Bandit back home - Bandit reached Falmouth yesterday. We hope to bring you news of their exploits soon. (see Bandit page)

20 June 2007 - Bandit returning - Bandit reached Ponta Delgada last week, and they are now on their way back to Falmouth. (see Bandit page)

12 June 2007 - Bandit reaches the Azores - Our latest report shows that Bandit was just 36 miles from Ponta Delgada in the Azores at 2pm UK time yesterday, at the end of the outward leg of the Azores and Back Ocean Race. We hope for news and possibly some pictures as soon as they get in touch.
(see Bandit page)

8 June 2007 - Abuko LBS Update - Pageant member Jeannette Mars visited the school to meet the children who write letters to her Worldclass children at Ridgemede Junior School and take them a special gift of ‘Mr Majeika’ books. (more details)

6 June 2007 - Bakalarr Inter School Sports update - Bakary Gitteh writes:
"The competition is over and I am happy to inform you that our school boys beat Essau at the final stage and our girls also did well by going up to final stage by winning all their games but have lost the final one. Generally both boys and girls did very well by coming up to the final stage in the tournament. It was a very tough competition. The competition is now over and the other schools went back to their various schools last Sunday night. We are now preparing for our end of year exams."

2 June 2007 - Azores and Back Ocean Race starts today - read more

31 May 2007 - Bakalarr Inter School Sports - Message from Bakalarr headmaster, Bakary Gitteh
"I am pleased to inform you that our school (Bakalarr Basic Cycle School) is again hosting the inter school sport competition which started last Sunday, 27 May and will end next Sunday. It is not our turn to host but because of our facilities that is why we are hosting it again.
This is because of the good job you have done in the school such as toilets, basket and volley ball lawn and the buildings etc. On this note I thank you very much and may God give you good health and long life and a success in your efforts in helping Gambian people. We are proud of you. NB: Seven schools including Bakalarr are there."

31 May 2007 - Open House for Pageant members, 15 July 2007  - see details

25 May 2007 - 200 Children Sponsored - Pageant now has 200 children and young people who are being sponsored to pay for their educational expenses. Read more about our sponsorship scheme and if you are interested in helping a student with the costs of their education, then see our sponsorship enquiry page.

9 May 2007 - Millennium Health Microscope - Pageant has donated 1000 to this project, and will get 10-20 microscopes for distribution in up-country areas of The Gambia. see MHM page

2 May 2007 - Millennium Health Microscope - A new low cost, compact microscope is being developed, which will revolutionise the diagnosis of infectious diseases, such as Malaria, in developing countries. The Millennium Health Microscope Foundation is currently fundraising for Stage 1 of the project. see further details

1 May 2007 - Gambian Mini Market at Ridgemede Junior School

27 April 2007 - Azores and Back Ocean Race - Mike Martin and Fraser Currie have entered this year's AZAB race with Bandit. They have named Pageant as their chosen charity, and are fundraising to provide desk units for Campama Lower Basic School in The Gambia. see further details about Bandit and AZAB

24 April 2007 - Jurunku visit in February 2007. Pippa, Jon Quinnell and others visited this school again, looking at the progress being made in the school gardens, and also at the next project requiring attention - the derelict kitchens. see further details

12 April 2007 - Shap Ahoy T4 Challenge - We now have the diary of their trip to Bamako and Timbuktu, and all the pictures.

4 April 2007 - Tina's art project brings hands-on art to Kings Kid Academy and KMJ Nursery School, creating a jungle and an ocean.

4 April 2007 - Campama Lower basic School - Pageant gets their toilets back in working order, and is raising funds for new desk units.

News Archive January - March 2007

23 March 2007 - Seminars for Gambian science teachers - Joe Brock, Head of Science at Collyer's Sixth Form College in Horsham, has produced a science handbook for teaching Upper Basic Science (roughly GCSE) and Senior Secondary Science (roughly AS level) in The Gambia. Joe's new book contains 73 experiments and he also designed kits containing items that are inexpensive and readily available, at least in UK, with which to conduct these experiments. 40 of these kits were assembled and taken to The Gambia by Joe, some of his students and some Pageant members. He gave a series of five seminars for science teachers, showing them how to use the book and kits for teaching their students.

14 March 2007 - Update on the Pageant Loan Scheme

12 March 2007 - Exhibition of Ousman's paintings opens

7 March 2007 - Pippa's Gambian Trip Diary - a condensed version covering her recent visit to the Gambia.

7 March 2007  -  Sarjo's new wheelchair - handicapped student Sarjo Badjie gets a new 'all terrain' wheelchair to cope with Gambia's country roads.

4 March 2007 - New Crab Island Page - Crab Island Upper Basic School is about 5km south of central Banjul, and provides education for children aged 13 to 16. Pageant members Brenda and Keith Farrington have helped to set up a computer lab, woodwork and metalwork rooms, a home economic centre and a technical drawing classroom at this school. Read all about it on the new Crab Island page.

3 March 2007 - Exhibition & Sale of Pictures  Pageant is holding an exhibition of paintings in Horsham Library from 10-24 March. The pictures are original paintings in watercolour and gouache on A4 sized art paper by an A-level student, Ousman F Sowe, of Essau Senior Secondary School in The Gambia. Ousman paints pictures based on scenes related to The Gambia and the proceeds of their sale are helping him to continue his education and develop his artistic talents. Ousman's home is close to the village of Kunta Kinteh (of the book 'Roots', by Alex Hailey) and many of his pictures depict aspects of the slave trade of bygone years.

Admittance to the exhibition is free and the paintings will be for sale from the exhibition. The library staff will put the customary red dot on any picture that is sold, but purchasers can arrange collection as soon as they wish, rather than wait until the exhibition ends. We have replacements to fill up any spaces. Very reasonable prices: unmounted picture 10, mounted original picture 12, framed original picture 20. A4 size prints 3.

21 February 2007 - Car Auctions in Banjul - Three of the five charity auctions of vehicles from the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge have now taken place. (see full auction results) All of 'our' teams vehicles have now been sold. IceCold's Suzuki Samurai Jeep raised 76,000 Dalasis (1,363), Ibrakeforcake's Isuzu Trooper raised 39,000  Dalasis (700), the Desert Mice Jetta raised 57,000 Dalasis (1,022) and First to the Bar's Escort raised 66,000 Dalasis (1,184). All proceeds from the auctions are split between the Association of Small-Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) and the Gambian National Olympic Committee (GNOC).

8 February 2007 - lots of new pictures on the Ibrakeforcake Plymouth-Banjul Challenge page.

6 February 2007 - Pageant North meeting - Ann Keating has arranged a Northern Meeting on Sunday 25th February at 2-00 pm at 8 Ashling Court, Tyldesley, Manchester, M29 8QS. All Pageant members who live within range are invited to attend, but please contact Ann by email to say you are coming.

3 February 2007 - Science kits for Gambian schools - Joe Brock of Collyer's is going to The Gambia with Pageant, taking science kits for 40 Gambian schools, and running seminars for Gambian teachers.

26 January 2007 - Pictures of IceCold's visit to Bakalarr.

24 January 2007  - The Artemisia Project - We now have pictures of the first training session for villagers on how to cultivate Artemisia, which can be used to combat malaria.
We also have pictures of
Ibrakeforcake's visit to Sinchu Baliya.

Plymouth-Banjul and T4 Challenge updates

23 January 2007 - IceCold - final updates from Banjul, now on their way to Gatwick

22 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy - Tim and Nick have made a donation of 250 to Pageant. We have also added a couple of pictures to the page - more pictures and the full story of their journey soon.

20 January - Shap Ahoy - Tim returns to UK.

19 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy - Tim and Co back in Bamako, and preparing to return home.

18 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy - Tim and Co are now in Segou, on their way back to Bamako.

17 January 2007 - IceCold have crossed into The Gambia, and are at the Barra ferry. Latest news is that they have reached the Safari Garden Hotel in Banjul, so they have completed the Challenge. They quickly called in at Bakalarr on their way, and are meeting the headmaster on 18 January. they will be returning to the UK on 23 January.
Shap Ahoy - Tim is in Mopti on his way to Djenne.

16 January 2007 - IceCold reached Zebrabar campsite yesterday, with the ambulance crammed with survivors from the cars which didn't make it through the desert. They have now left for the Gambian border and Banjul.
Meanwhile in Timbuktu, Tim has sold the
Shap Ahoy car and is travelling back to Bamako with Ray and John in their Landrover.
Ibrakeforcake have now returned to the UK. They will soon be posting their story and photos on their blog.
P.S. if you wondered if Dave and Linda of Iron Mighty got hitched, just see
their website.

15 January 2007 - Desert Mice and First to the Bar! have now returned to the Netherlands and Wales. They have raised over 1800 for renovations at Kings Kid Academy. See full report and pictures.
IceCold are probably now at Zebrabar campsite.

14 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy progress Tim has reached Timbuktu (Tombouctou).
IceCold break their radio silence.

13 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy progress Tim and Co have now got as far as Tonka on the way to Timbuktu (Tombouctou).

12 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy progress. Nick has now flown home, so Tim travelled in convoy to Niono, and will try to make contact with the other group.

12 January 2007 - Plymouth-Banjul teams visit schools
Kemo phoned Pippa yesterday to tell us that PBC teams had been visiting some of Pageant's schools:

  • Desert Mice and First to the Bar! had visited Kings Kid Academy. The staff and children had welcomed them with a one-hour presentation and everyone was very happy! Jacob Amadi (Headmaster of KKA) wanted to thank us personally for suggesting that his school should be one to receive support from rally teams. He said he was truly grateful for the assistance they are receiving and that the children were very excited about seeing the rally teams (and vehicles, I expect!).
  • Ibrakeforcake had visited Sinchu Baliya LBS earlier in the week (probably Tuesday) and had also been welcomed with a full presentation by the children, which Kemo said went very well. Both these presentations will have involved singing and dancing and probably a short drama enacted by the children. We will bring you pictures as soon as we have them.
  • Kemo had also met up with Iron Mighty and helped them to distribute all the sportswear and kit that they were carrying. This included a special Pageant consignment of two large filled kitbags for the Gambian national cricket team (cricket is now starting up in a big way in The Gambia) - Ram International have most generously provided bats, pads, gloves, balls and stumps as well as a complete team set of shirts, trousers, caps etc, all embroidered with the Gambian team badge. We will make sure we see the team in action while we are there in February - many of the cricket matches are played at the Independence Stadium in Banjul, which is a short walk from our hotel. Iron Mighty also featured on page 23 of the Guardian on 11 January. (link)

11 January 2007 - IceCold have crossed into Mauritania, and started their trek across the desert.
Shap Ahoy have reached Bamako

11 January 2007 - Horsham Inner Wheel Fund Raising for Pageant
Pippa and Ian gave a talk to the Horsham Inner Wheel (Inner Wheel members are generally females who are or were related to a Rotarian or former Rotarian) in November 2006. They were invited to do so by Sue Cato, current President of the club, who has adopted Pageant as her chosen charity for the year. Since then, funds have been raised for Pageant as follows:

  • 260 was raised at a private party where no presents were wanted but instead items were auctioned and the amount raised was given to the charity of the successful bidder's choice.

  • A staggering 600+ was raised from a Christmas lunch open to Inner Wheel and Rotarian members, hosted by Sue Cato.

Sue says that 'every member who attended your inspiring talk was greatly impressed...' - we also are impressed by their efforts and would like to take this opportunity of saying a public 'Thank-you' to Sue and all the Inner Wheel members who have been so generous in their support of Pageant.

Plymouth-Banjul and T4 Challenge updates

10 January 2007 - The IceCold teams are on their way towards the Mauritanian border. No mention of the ambulance brakes, so I guess they are fixed.
A later field report says they have reached Mauritania with no trouble.
Ibrakeforcake have posted a late update about the last stage of their journey to Banjul.

9 January 2007 - The IceCold ambulance has suffered more mechanical trouble in Dakhla, with the brakes failing. They hope to source the required spares locally, and then continue. However, it seems that the other teams at Dakhla have snuck off across the border without them.
Shap Ahoy and three other two wheel drive cars are now heading for Bamako, and the other five T4 cars (4wd) are taking a more westerly route.
Desert Mice and First to the bar! have finally arrived in Banjul, after a long wait at the Barra ferry.

8 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy have crossed into Mali.
IceCold teams arrived at Tan Tan last night without further problems. Latest news is that they have arrived at the campsite at Dakhla. They are almost back on schedule despite everything!

8 January 2007 - Brian Howard, the new Mayor of Haslemere, Surrey has named Pageant as one of his two charities for the coming year. A Burns Dinner is being held at Wispers School in Haslemere on 20 January as part of the Mayor's fund raising in aid of his charities. The cost of the dinner is 40 per head, which includes ALL drink - no canny Scot can afford to miss this one!! Email for more information or phone Carole King on 01428 651367.

Plymouth-Banjul and T4 Challenge updates

7 January 2007 - Pippa has just spoken to Dave Wells from Iron Mighty! He is at present in the Safari Garden Hotel (rally HQ) drinking Gambian Julbruw (beer)!! They arrived yesterday after a nightmarish time at Barra, where there was a 3-day queue waiting to cross to Banjul - no ferries had been running during the festival!! He has seen Ibrakeforcake on the Banjul side, and has heard rumours that Desert Mice and First to the bar are still in Barra waiting to cross. The line was very bad, so she did not get any more details from him - he is now mostly concerned with getting all his sports kit distributed and then getting married!! Date fixed for wedding on 10 January, as far as I can remember - we helped him get the papers sorted before he started off on the rally.

Further news from Kemo: He is meeting up with Dave Wells from Iron Mighty tomorrow to distribute the sports kit, and has also arranged with Ibrakeforcake to visit Sinchu Baliya LBS to take their materials, plus some more materials for GTTI (the auto engineering department). He has not yet heard from Desert Mice et al... but confirms that the ferries are having to deal with huge amounts of vehicles. He says that he, Wandifa and Alimatou will all be VERY busy for several days!! The container that was being driven down with a lot of Pageant stuff in has also just arrived, adding to their workload!! He says he is sure they will be able to manage.....

Shap Ahoy have now sorted out their money problems, and are setting off for Nema.
IceCold's ambulance is now in good health again, and the latest news is that both teams are getting close to Laayoune where they will spend the night.

6 January 2007 - The IceCold ambulance has suffered more problems. At first they thought it was gearbox trouble, but the latest diagnosis is a dead fuel pump. Hopefully, when this is replaced they will be on their way. Latest news is that the ambulance is fixed, but they are not sure what the problem was!
We have had no news from any of the Group 1 teams for a while now. We assume that they headed into the desert on about 28 December, where mobile phones don't work, and landlines are rare. They should reach more civilised parts in about 7 days - so anytime now there should be some news.

5 January 2007 - both IceCold teams have reached Marrakech, where they will be having a rest day.
Shap Ahoy are at Nuoakchott.

4 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy have arrived at Dakhla in the south of Morroco.
IceCold spent the night in Rabat, and progressed as far as Khenifra, where the ambulance's universal joint failed. They have made repairs and are now on their way to Marrakech.

3 January 2007 - More details on IceCold's ambulance customs saga.
Shap Ahoy spend the night at Laayoune.

2 January 2007 - Shap Ahoy left Marrakech on 31 December, spent New Year's Day on the beach at Sidi Ifni, and are now on the long drive through the desert towards Laayoune.
IceCold's ambulance has now been released by customs after 27 hours.

1 January 2007 - IceCold arrive at Tangiers
We haven't heard from the other teams for a bit, but they are probably in the middle of the desert, and will get in touch again when they reach civilised parts.

News Archive October - December 2006

Plymouth-Banjul and T4 Challenge updates

31 December 2006 - IceCold near Gibraltar

30 December 2006 - Shap Ahoy have reached Marrakech and will have a rest day there today Saturday 30th.
IceCold teams have reached Bayonne and will cross into Spain today.
Iron Mighty is part of a convoy heading for the Mauritanian border.

29 December 2006 - Shap Ahoy have got to Tarifa & caught the Tangiers ferry.
Iron Mighty, who are taking football and other sports kit for Pageant to distribute, are now in the Sahara Desert. See their regular field reports.
The first
field report shows that the IceCold have reached Perpignan, after a very rough ferry crossing. XTCold is running well, though some rattles. Heading for Spain tomorrow.

28 December 2006 - On Boxing Day Ibrakeforcake successfully navigated the Atlas Mountains over the Tiz-n-Test pass.
later update says they have left Layoun and are headed into the Western Sahara.
On 27 December
Shap Ahoy covered over 600 miles and spent the night at Miranda De Ebro in Spain.

27 December 2006 - Ibrakeforcake are now in Morocco. Communication problems means we have missed several messages.
Desert Mice and First to the bar! reached Marrakech on Christmas Day. By now they may be on the long haul down through Western Sahara and on to Mauritania,
Shap Ahoy, on the T4 Challenge, left Cumbria on 26 December, and travelled as far as Alenon in France.

21 December 2006 - Ringwood School sets up a link with Bakalarr BCS They have produced letters to the Bakalarr children and laminated A4 cards with geometric designs. Plymouth-Banjul Challenge team IceCold in Bakalarr will take these and other gifts to The Gambia. (more details)

Plymouth-Banjul and T4 Challenge updates

21 December 2006 - Ibrakeforcake reach Madrid gearbox still sick, but a replacement located in Gibraltar.
Desert Mice & First to the bar! reach Tarifa Africa beckons

19 December 2006 - Ibrakeforcake - away to Spain

19 December 2006 - IceCold visit to Ringwood school

19 December 2006 - The Plymouth-Banjul organisers have just gone live with their service to publish field reports sent back by teams during the Challenge. We are not sure if any of the Pageant teams are going to use this service, but here are some direct links:

Field Report
Desert Mice
First to the bar!
IceCold in Banjul
IceCold in Bakalarr
Iron Mighty

You can also see the latest reports from all teams from this link.

18 December 2006 - Ibrakeforcake - Stage 1 to Bergerac The team have made it to their first stopover  at Bergerac in the Dordogne, but have suffered a gearbox problem.

16 December 2006 - First PBC teams away
Teams in Group 1 of the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge officially leave for The Gambia on Sunday 17 December. Three teams in Group 1 are fundraising for Pageant projects -
Ibrakeforcake, Desert Mice & First to the Bar! Desert Mice actually started from the Hague on 15 December, and Ibrakeforcake are now on their way. The IceCold Teams, in Group 3, leave on 29 December. Team Iron Mighty, also in Group 1, are helping Pageant by taking football shirts and sports equipment to some of our schools.
In addition, one of last year's teams,
Shap Ahoy is taking part in a preliminary expedition to reconnoitre the route for the Bamako Run, known as the T4 Challenge, leaving on 13 January. Click on the team name above to see the team pages, and read the latest updates. Teams will be doing their best to send back reports during their journeys, and everything we get will be posted on their team page.

8 December 2006 - Harry's Card - Harry, aged 12, who Ian and Pippa met in October, has sent us this delightful card. He says that he thinks it looks like the Independence Arch in Banjul, so the Gambian children will like it!

6 December 2006 - The Artemisia Project - Tea made from the leaves of Artemisia annua is an inexpensive and effective treatment for malaria, which originated in China. Trials of Artemisia annua 'Anamed', a variety suited to hot climates, are under way at the  Gambian National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). Pageant is providing funds for NARI to grow plants, to distribute them to several villages, and then to train villagers in cultivation and further propagation by cuttings. (more details)

5 December 2006 - Ibrakeforcake update - route planning and new seats

3 December 2006 - Charlotte May's visit to The Gambia

30 November 2006 - Yakanu Nursery School 'Gambia Crew' purchase land for new school.

30 November 2006 - Ibrakeforcake's preparations continue for Plymouth-Banjul Challenge.

25 November 2006 - The King's Kid Academy, located in Temasu, near Lamin, south west of Banjul, is the latest school to be helped by Pageant. Read more on our new King's Kid Academy page.  Funds are being raised for KKA by two teams in the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Desert Mice & First to the Bar!

20 November 2006 - Gunjur Environmental Protection and Development Group & New Ethical Gifts
GEPADG works
to achieve long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty in The Gambia through reversing the current destruction of forests, mangroves and coastal ecosystems. It is based on the Atlantic coast, and is staffed entirely by Gambians motivated by their desire to protect and enhance their natural environment. This year Pageant is offering Ethical Gifts in partnership with GEPADG as well as the usual range of Pageant gifts. See our
Gifts Page for the full range. For further information about GEPADG see our new  GEPADG page or the GEPADG website.

20 November 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge Iron Mighty (T7107) have collected around 150 football shirts, 30 pairs of shorts & socks and an agility training kit, with more to come including footballs and cricket equipment.  Pageant will be assisting in distributing these in The Gambia.

20 November 2006 - Sponsorship Pageant now has 173 children and young people whose education is being supported by individual sponsors. Please see our Sponsorship Page for further information, and our Sponsor Enquiry Page to see those currently waiting for sponsorship.

14 November 2006 - Saloum Nursery kitchen The new kitchen is now complete (more details)

14 November 2006 - Wandifa's new family Wandifa has a brand new baby (more details)

10 November 2006 - Shap Ahoy's new challenge Tim Lovatt and Nick Capron, as Team Shap Ahoy, raised) over 4500 for Pageant by taking part in last year's Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. At the end of December they are participating in the T4 Challenge, to reconnoitre the route for the Bamako Run to Mali. Follow their progress on this page.

5 November 2006 - Pageant North Ann Keating, based in Manchester, is now Pageant's agent in the North of England. She intends to organise meetings and get-togethers for Pageant members in the North who find it difficult to get to Horsham. Watch out for more details.

1 November 2006 - Christmas Gift Tokens In 2005 Pageant introduced its range of Ethical Gift Tokens, which were so successful, that we continued to offer them throughout 2006. Christmas is again coming up fast, so the Ethical Gifts take on their Christmas role, and will be supplied with a Pageant Christmas card. Our Ethical Gifts range in value from 5 to 90. You send the Gift Token to your friend or relative, and schools, children or villagers in The Gambia benefit from  a gift which is sure to be greatly appreciated. From today, Mo Dawkins has taken over the running of the Ethical Gift Scheme. (full details of our gifts)

1 November 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge -  Ibrakeforcake updates

24 October 2006 - News from The Gambia - Week 1
Pippa & Ian are in The Gambia. Pippa posted this news update on the
Pageant News blog:

Well, here we are - and wow, is it hot!! It is also somewhat frustrating as there have been only two school days in the week since we arrived - the end of Ramadan has meant extended school holidays. Great for the children, I am sure, but not so good for us.
We have managed to set up the Science Practical seminars for February for the South Bank Schools, but the schools on the North Bank are all on holiday until next Monday (our last day), so we will have to hope all goes well on that day. Those Pageant members who have visited the North Bank on the Banjul to Barra Ferry will know that it is not always plain sailing!
We have visited a number of children and families - and have seen Wandifa's new baby son (very cute!). School here on the South Bank re-open on Thursday, so we hope to cram a lot of school visits into two days!

16 October 2006 - Son for Wandifa We have just heard from Kemo that Wandifa and his wife have a new baby son. No details re name or weight. Pippa hopes to be able to bring back some pics when they return from The Gambia.

13 October 2006 - Yakanu Nursery Alex Odell and the Gambia Crew's project to build a new nursery school in Serrekunda. (more details)  

11 October 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Desert Mice & First to the Bar
Clare Jones de Rocco & Guillermo Rocco from the Netherlands, and Katie Ball & Adam Richards from Cardiff have entered the Challenge as the 'Desert Mice' (T7141) and 'First to the Bar' (T7146). (
more details)

6 October 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge Updates - Ibrakeforcake Trooper gets a check up (more details) - Ice Cold's jeep goes pink (more details) - A third team has expressed an interest in helping Pageant - more details later.

News Archive July - September 2006

29 September 2006 - Ice Cold update New paint job for the jeep. Ice Cold get a second vehicle - an ambulance. (more details)

25 September 2006 - Ian & Pippa off to The Gambia Broken ankles, heart conditions and any other medical condition they haven't considered yet permitting, Pippa and Ian will be off to The Gambia again on 17 October for a two week visit. They have a very busy schedule mapped out, but if any sponsors or members have a card or letter to send out to someone, they would be pleased to take it with them. No packages, please, they already have far too much luggage! Please post it to their home address to reach them before 14 October. Ian and Pippa will ensure that cards/letters are personally delivered when someone is going in the right direction - much safer than the post. Please keep an eye on Pageant's News Blog. If all goes well there could be some news postings from The Gambia.

18 September 2006 - Ibrakeforcake update the Trooper gets a paint job. (more details)

8 September 2006 - update on Steve Pitman's half marathon Money raised provides woodworking benches at St Augustine's UBS and refurbishments at King's Kid Academy nursery school.
see King's Kid photos)

7 September 2006 - North Bank Schools Science Fair Kim Pilmer, an American Peace Corps Volunteer,  teaching at Essau SSS, organised a Science Fair for children in Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools on the North bank of the River Gambia. (more details)

20 August 2006 - Back to School - Sponsorship The new term starts both here and in The Gambia. We have 50 children and young people seeking sponsorship for their education. Can you help?
See our
sponsorship page, for more information and check out those seeking sponsorship

9 August 2006 - Omar's Diary Omar Janneh, Science Co-ordinator from Sinchu Baliya Lower Basic School, has been in the UK from 23 June to 4 August 2006. He has written a diary of his visit.
read Omar's diary)

3 August 2006 - Pageant News Blog Today almost everyone has a blog. Pageant isn't going to be left behind, and has launched the Pageant News Blog. We will have a team of contributors who can all put breaking news stories directly onto the blog without having to send text and pictures to the Webmaster. This news page will of course catch up on the breaking news within a few days, so for a lot of the time the blog and the news page will carry the same stories.

15 July 2006 - Meet Omar Day on 9 July, Pageant members had the opportunity to meet Omar Janneh, the Science Co-ordinator from Sinchu Baliya Lower Basic School. (more details)

15 July 2006 - IceCold at the PBC Launch Party (more details)

12 July 2006 - Ibrakeforcake  several updates Pageant Meeting, Death of the Cavalier, Launch Party, Meet Omar Day.

News Archive April - June 2006

29 June 2006 - IceCold Update Fund raising at the Milton Fete (more details)

28 June 2006 - Pageant, Charity of the Year The new Mayor of Haslemere in Surrey has named Pageant as one of his charities for the coming year. (more details)

28 June 2006 - Omar Janneh awarded RMS bursary  Omar was presented with a Royal Microscopical Society bursary at the Microscience exhibition and conference, to attend their Light Microscopy Summer School this July. (pictures & more details)

27 June 2006 - Jurunku update Jon Quinnell's work continues with the garden renovated and fenced, and a new borehole and solar powered water supply. (more details

26 June 2006 - Horsham Rotary Club Charity Fair Omar Janneh helped out at the Pageant stall, which took 192.50. (pictures & more details

22 June 2006 - PBC-07 Ibrakeforcake have purchased a 1988 Isuzu Trooper. Details on their team page.

11 June 2006 - Horsham Rotary Club Charity Fair on Sunday 25 June in Horsham Park. Pageant will have a stand there as in previous years. This year Omar Janneh, Science Co-ordinator from Sinchu Baliya Lower Basic School will be with us, so visitors to the stand will be able to get first hand information about teaching in a Gambian school as well as having the opportunity to buy a wide selection of Gambian goodies. Pageant members are also invited to a 'Meet Omar' day (details on the members page)

11 June 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 07 Four friends forming two teams have entered the 2007 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. Team Ice Cold in Bakalarr will be supporting Pageant, and Ice Cold in Banjul will be supporting Health The Gambia. They have just acquired their first car. (see the new IceCold team page)

9  June 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 07 Team Ibrakeforcake has offered to help Pageant.

3 June 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge 06 The final total raised by Super Trooper for Pageant in the 2006 Plymouth-Banjul Challenge was 4,388.45

3 June 2006 - Steve Pitman's Half Marathon Steve's final total raised for Pageant was 528.01. Some of this has been used for woodworking benches at St Augustine's Upper Basic School.

8 May 2006 - News from Banjul Schools - Brenda and Keith Farrington have sent us pictures and news about Crab Island Upper Basic School, Gambia Senior Secondary School and St Augustine's Upper Basic School. (more details)

7 May 2006 - Bakary Gitteh is Best Principal of the Year - Bakalarr headmaster, Mr Bakary Gitteh, has been named as 'Best Principal of the Year' in The Gambia. The award will be presented on Saturday, 13th May at the Friendship Hostel in Bakau. The ceremony will be attended by important people such as the Directors, Education Minister and Permanent Secretary, and will be covered by the Gambia radio, television and newspapers. We at Pageant would like to congratulate Bakary on this wonderful achievement.

7 May 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge News - The 2006 Challenge is now history, and there are now summaries of this and the 2005 Amsterdam-Dakar Challenges on our new 2005/6 Challenge summary page. Applications have now closed for the 2007 Challenge. Pageant has been approached by some teams planning to take part, but we don't know yet if their applications have been successful. See more details on our revised Challenge page

4 April 2006 - Saloum Nursery, opening of toilet block - Wandifa's extension

2 April 2006 - Diary of Ian & Pippa's trip to The Gambia in February (in 4 parts - see index page)
Quick links to all
Pageant forms. See members page for latest website statistics report

News Archive January - March 2006

21 March 2006 - Final total raised by Shap Ahoy for Pageant is 4572.55, which will be going to the Saloum Nursery. Shap Ahoy also donated 1673 to ASSET and the GNOC in The Gambia.

20 March 2006 - Carole Punt and Franklin Odumo get married in The Gambia. more details

17 March 2006 - Donation of Science Equipment - Joe Brock of Collyer's has donated a wonderful array of practical science equipment and specially written manuals to schools in The Gambia.

13 March 2006 - Pageant Loan Scheme update - Pippa reports on the progress of Pageant's first loan scheme in the village of Sika.

9 March 2006 - Our new Sponsorship Enquiry Page shows pictures of all students currently requiring sponsorship and allows you to request further information.

13 February 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge The Shap Ahoy page has been completely updated, and now has 7 subsidiary pages which give a day by day account of their journey from Cumbria to The Gambia.

30 January 2006 - Members' Page This page contains information which is mainly of interest to Pageant members. This page has been on this website for about three months, but you probably haven't found it. There is now a direct link from our Home Page.

28 January 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Super Trooper Paul has set up an online photo album.

26 January 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Super Trooper Rupert & Paul have returned to the UK. There are some new pictures on their page. There are also some new pictures on the Shap Ahoy page.

21 January 2006 - Pippa's trip to The Gambia - at last we have finished this report!

19 January 2006 - Pageant Loans - pageant launches micro-loans for small enterprises

15 January 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge

Shap Ahoy  - Nick and Tim have returned to the UK. New pictures on the Shap Ahoy page.

Super Trooper have successfully completed the challenge, and have visited Bakalarr

12 January 2006 - Amsterdam-Banjul Challenge Delft Dustbusters have donated 1500 Euros to Pageant.

11 January 2006 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge Pageant's agent Kemo Ceesay, reports that he has met Tim and Nick of Team Shap Ahoy, and took them to Saloum Nursery on the morning of 9 January, where they handed over a cheque, bringing their total donation to 5000. At 3pm all the Group 1 cars were due to assemble at the stadium in Bakau. Also another Group 1 team, Howells Enterprises, has travelled to The Gambia in the old minibus from Ringwood School. Head Teacher, Chris Edwards, asked Pageant to assist in distributing the large amount of supplies they took out with them, and Kemo is now organising this.

7 January 2006 - Pippa's trip to The Gambia

7 January 2006 - New pictures from Saloum Nursery

News Archive October - December 2005

29 December 2005 - Pippa's trip to The Gambia, November 2005

27 December 2005 - Shap Ahoy send Christmas Greetings from Marrakech (pictures)

17 December 2005 - Shap Ahoy on their way, 2000 cheque for Pageant Team Shap Ahoy leave Cumbria for The Gambia today. They are catching the 16.00 ferry from Dover. They have also sent another cheque for 2000 to Pageant.

15 December 2005 - Pippa's visit to Saloum Nursery Pippa Howard has just returned from The Gambia, where she visited Saloum Nursery School and was delighted to see that work on the toilet block is under way. Pippa took with her a further 500 from Shap Ahoy. Pictures can be found on the Saloum Nursery page.

13 December 2005 - Last Chance to get Pageant Christmas Gift Tokens Please send requests to reach Pageant by the 17th December, as we can't guarantee delivery before Christmas for requests received after that date. The Gift Token Scheme will continue through 2006, but without the Christmas association.

9 December 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Team Super Trooper raise over 1000 for Pageant more details

6 December 2005 - Delft Dustbusters complete the Amsterdam-Dakar Challenge
We are waiting for their final report, but in the meantime, check out the news and pictures below:
    latest pictures - Daily uploads of photos. There are now two pages in the photo index.
    latest news - Daily news, unfortunately in Dutch, but try running it through Babelfish

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Team Shap Ahoy latest updates

  • 3 December - Two weeks to go. The final push for sponsorship.
  • 1 December - More sponsors support Shap Ahoy

24 November 2005 - Delft Dustbusters update They are now heading for the Gambia border, so the end of the Challenge is in sight.

23 November 2005 - Online donation - you can now donate to Pageant using your credit or debit card.

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Team Shap Ahoy November 2005 updates

  • 22 November - Fundraising by Cumbria Schools, Final Preparations
  • 19 November - Will it all fit in?
  • 13 November - more fundraising
  • 8 November - fancy dress disco at St Mary's RC Primary School, Kells
  • 1 November - pictures of presentation of 1000 cheque to Saloum Nursery

14 November 2005 - Delft Dustbusters update - They are now crossing the Sahara.

11 November 2005 - Sponsorship in Action page updated

9 November 2005 - Pageant T-Shirts for members - further details on new members page

2 November 2005 - Delft Dustbusters updateleaving on 5 November, having replaced their Renault Trafic van with a Volvo 740.

1 November 2005 - Christmas Gift Tokens This Christmas, Pageant will be offering a range of Gift Tokens which people can give as presents. We have a list of gifts ranging in value from 5 to 75. You send the Gift Token to your friend or relative, and schools, children or villagers in The Gambia benefit from  a gift which is sure to be greatly appreciated. full details on our new gifts page
(stop press - gift tokens now available throughout the year)

Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Team Shap Ahoy - October 2005 updates

  • 28 October - Hull City AFC support Shap Ahoy, and donate soccer shirts to Saloum
  • 24 October - new picture of car
  • 19 October - The Shap Ahoy team have donated 1000 to get work started on the Saloum Nursery toilet block
  • 5 October - Pictures of treasure hunt prize winners

19 October 2005 - More Harvest Festivals More seeds have been donated at Harvest Festivals at St Mary's Church in West Horsley and Glenesk School in East Horsley, and also by the 6th Horsham Beavers. In total 942 packets of seeds and nearly 800 in money for tools will be taken to The Gambia during the next few weeks. more details

17 October 2005 - Super Trooper update - more details

11 October 2005 - Ousman's studio Ousman Sowe has built himself a new studio - more details

8 October 2005 - Harvest Festival with a difference Seeds and money for The Gambia donated at St John's (Belmont) Harvest Festival - more details

7 October 2005 - Bakary Gitteh's Visit - final report (apologies for lateness in publishing)

7 October 2005 - New Page covering both the Plymouth-Banjul and Amsterdam-Dakar Challenges

6 October 2005 - Amsterdam-Dakar Challenge - Delft Dustbusters - update & picture of their van

6 October 2005 - Visit to Gallions Mount School - more details

5 October 2005 - More infants' school furniture for The Gambia - 7 cubic metres of goods packed and on their way to The Gambia.

News Archive July - September 2005

21 September 2005 - Gambia win again against Qatar see table of results scroll down to Group D

20 September 2005 - Soccer shock for Brazil Gambia under 17 soccer team has pulled off a remarkable win against Brazil. Read account Do you keep abreast of news from The Gambia? You can do this using these links

15 September 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge team Shap Ahoy - latest update

12 September 2005 - Mosquito nets for village communities Pageant has sent 1100, which paid for the purchase of mosquito nets and insecticide for supply to village communities in and around Bakalarr and Jarreng. see further details

9 September 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge team Shap Ahoy - update

1 September 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge team Super Trooper now have their own website.

20 August 2005 - New pictures by Bakalarr artist Ousman Sowe

17 August 2005 - Pages about Bakary Gitteh's Visit We now have three new pages describing Bakary Gitteh's visit, and the other two pages have been extensively updated.


10 August 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - now four teams helping Pageant We have already reported on two teams in the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, who have decided to help Pageant. They have their own news pages on this site: see Shap Ahoy, and Super Trooper. We now have two more teams:

  • Team GingerBeard (T6460) consists of Briony and Peter Dumenil. They are in Group 4, due to depart on 9 February 2006. You can check their progress on their Team Page of the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge official website. Briony writes:
    "I am also doing the Plymouth Dakar challenge in 2006, setting off in February. I would love to raise money for Pageant and I want to set up a 'justgiving' website in the near future to start our collection. My team is called GingerBeard and we're made up of my father Peter Dumenil, 65 retired and living in the sunny south of France and myself Briony Dumenil, 26 living in London. I'm the ginger and Dad is the beard. As yet we don't have a car."

  • Team DundleDots (T6324) consists of Stephen Pocklington and Fiona Walker, from Thatcham, Berkshire. They are in Group 3 and depart on 29 December 2005. Their car is a Mercedes 380se. They are proposing to help Pageant by collecting educational equipment in Berkshire, and transporting these items to The Gambia for us. You can check their progress on their Team Page of the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge official website, and they have also set up their own web site.

2 August 2005 - Bakary Gitteh meets his childhood sponsor On Sunday 31 July, Bakary Gitteh travelled to the Isle of Wight to meet Diana Wales, whose sponsorship had enabled him to finish his education.  Click here for the second report on Bakary's visit.

25 July 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Super Trooper - new page, new picture The second team in the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, which is supporting Pageant, now has its own news page, with the first picture of their car.

18 July 2005 - Meet Bakary Gitteh Day The headmaster of Bakalarr School, Mr Bakary Gitteh, is visiting the UK.  We will publish reports and pictures in a series of linked news pages during the course of his visit - click here for the first report. On 17th July, Pippa and Ian held a 'Meet Bakary Gitteh' day at their home, which was attended by about fifty Pageant members. Click here for the report on this day.

18 July 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Super Trooper We now have another Plymouth-Banjul Challenge entrant keen to support Pageant! The drivers are Paul Clifford and Rupert Williams from Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Their car is a brown 1989 Isuzu Trooper. Paul says 'There is nothing Super about a  Brown Trooper.....apart from the fact that I don't think many people can boast swimming pools in both foot wells'. We will soon have web page to follow their exploits - watch this space!

12 July 2005 - Plymouth-Banjul Challenge - Shap Ahoy - update Nick Capron, a manager with Cumbria Education Service and Tim Lovatt, manager of Park Cliffe Camping Site at Windermere, are taking part in this year's Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, and will be raising funds for Pageant. We will keep you informed of developments in this news page. There is now a picture of Tim and Nick with their car on this page.

10 July 2005 - Mr Gitteh's visit The headmaster of Bakalarr School, Mr Gitteh, arrived on Friday 8 July for a visit. He will be visiting several schools in various parts of the UK during the first two weeks of his stay, including some on the Isle of Wight, where he will be the guest of Mo and Nick Dawkins. After the schools have broken up for the summer, he will be making trips to London and the West Country and, of course, visiting local places of interest in Sussex and Surrey.

4 July 2005 - 100 Sponsored Students Pageant has just passed the milestone of 100 fully sponsored students. The sponsor who is helping the 100th child contacted us through the website, and was kind enough to send the following comments:

"I am interested in the work of your organisation and was struck by the simplicity and importance of its purpose. It also seems to me that your organisation makes a very positive impact, and I look forward to playing a small part in this important work.
I came across your organisation via the website. I investigated sponsorship via a number of large charities, but felt most confident in supporting yours. I am neither a philanthropist or a rich man, but a firm believer in the value of education. I recall the famous saying, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life', and feel that it is no longer morally acceptable for me not to sponsor a child in this way. The cost is absolutely minimal compared to the value that I am sure it will generate.
I would strongly urge others to take the same action immediately. Take action - sign the cheque now. Any cynics believing that to do so would be the act of a 'do-gooder' would do well to remember that it is better to be a 'do-gooder' than one who does nothing.
I am a secondary school teacher of Business and Economics in Hertfordshire, and hope to develop a long association with your work, introducing others to sponsorship and making more people aware of your important work. Anyway, good luck once again."

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking him and all our other sponsors for their generosity - we and all the Gambian children and schools who have and are benefiting from their kindness are truly grateful.

News Archive January - June 2005

14 June 2005 - Amsterdam-Dakar Challenge The Amsterdam-Dakar Challenge is similar to the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. This year Michiel van der Meulen, and some friends from Delft in the Netherlands, will attempt to take a Renault Trafic van to Banjul, and at the end of the challenge they will donate the van to Pageant. We will keep you up to date on their progress on this news page.

13 June 2005 - new pictures

See new pictures from Saloum Nursery and Wesley School

7 May 2005 - Christ's Hospital School Pupils at Christ's Hospital School, near Horsham, are sponsoring a student in The Gambia. They have raised over 1000 for Pageant projects, by Chapel Collections, a Rugby Sevens Tournament and sales of a School Magazine. (see further details)

2 May 2005 - Dame Tipping School

This is the second page in which we say an official 'Thank you' to some of our younger members who have been raising funds for Pageant during the past few months. The children of Dame Tipping CE Primary School in Essex, have raised sufficient money, by devising games and competitions, to sponsor two brothers in The Gambia. Abdoulrahman and Yusupha are now regarded by the children as part of their school.
see further details)

29 April 2005 - Ben's Story During the next few weeks we will be using the website to say an official 'Thank you' to some of our younger members who have been raising funds for Pageant during the past few months. The first of these is Ben's story. Ben is a 10 year old pupil at Warnham CE School, near Horsham in West Sussex. Ben is one of Pageant's youngest members. He and his sisters have been sponsoring a child at Jarreng for some time. He put together a Power-point presentation for his school, and then organised a fund raising day, which realised 200. (further details)

24 April 2005 - new pictures - new pages There are new pictures of progress at the Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre and Siffoe School. Pageant has also started to give help to Saloum Nursery.

19 April 2005 - new video clips Two new clips Mud Block Making and Bakalarr Cultural Dancing Group.

16 April 2005 - Amy and Amanda help unload containers Pageant members Amy Montgomery and Amanda Carley are currently in The Gambia. They are going to assist with teaching in one of the schools which Pageant helps. Watch out for more news and pictures when they get back.

16 April 2005 - new pictures We have added some new pictures to the new Bakalarr page.

2 April 2005 - prize draw raises funds for Wesley kitchens Andrew Rattray of Bookmark Remainders Ltd, has run a prize draw for his customers. The draw was made at the London Book Fair during the weekend 12/13 March and 500's worth of books were won by CJS Wholesale Ltd in Hexham, Northumberland. 700 was raised for the kitchen renovation at Wesley School which is scheduled to take place during the Easter school holidays. Andrew has asked that a small plaque should be put up on the kitchen in memory of his mum, dad and uncle - the text will read: 'For the children, in memory of Barbara, Charlie and Ron'. We will publish photos as work proceeds.

2 April 2005 - another new page Abuko - a Lower Basic School was started here recently as a local initiative, so that the village children did not have to travel 5km to the nearest school. Ian and Pippa, together with Pageant members Vic and Jackie, visited the school to see what help they require.

26 March 2005 - New pages with news and pictures from The Gambia

  • Bakalarr - Pippa and Ian officially open the Joan Saward Home Science Lab and the multipurpose sports court, and present gifts including football kits.
  • Jurunku - Pageant member Jon Quinnell is now coordinating the renovation of the classrooms. This is proceeding well and new concrete floors have been laid.
  • Sinchu Baliya - Progress on the Resource Centre is proceeding slowly.
  • Microscope Competition - Pippa and Ian presented prizes for the microscopy competition.

23 March 2005 - Packing FROGS containers On Saturday 12 March, Pageant members loaded up another FROGS container for The Gambia. As well as the usual items, this load contained no less than 72 optical microscopes donated by Leeds University.

14 March 2005 - Baby son for Kemo Kemo's wife Sonna has just given birth to a 'fit, healthy and strong' baby boy in Jarreng on 12th March.  Kemo heard the news by phone, and is now off to Jarreng for the naming ceremony. He will let us know the baby's name when he gets back.

10 February 2005 - Horsham Fun Day Volunteers, New Pictures, Ian and Pippa in The Gambia Pageant will be at the Horsham Park Fun day on Sunday 26 June 2005, between 1 and 5 pm. If you would like to help out, please contact us in the usual way. We have been sent new pictures taken in January 2005. See these pages: Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre, Siffoe School New Building, Bakalarr Multipurpose Court.

20 January 2004 - Thompson & Morgan seed donation Pageant has received a donation of vegetable seeds from Thompson & Morgan, which Pippa and Ian will take out to The Gambia in February. (see their website)

18 January 2005 - W3C, Accessibility and a new version of the Pageant website. This new version of the Pageant aims to comply as closely as possible with the W3C specifications on accessibility. It is now a legal requirement in the UK, for websites to be accessible to users with various disabilities. Complying with the W3C HTML coding specification is the first step in achieving this. At the same time we have decided to restructure some parts of the website, with a modified home page, and a new projects page.

18 - January 2005 - Presentation of Computers at Crab Island School (from Keith Farrington) A presentation of computer and sports equipment was made at Crab Island School with many schools benefiting from the donation. The Gambian Deputy Permanent Secretary of Education received the donation on behalf of the schools.

18 January 2005 - Stage at Crab Island School (from Keith Farrington) During a visit to Crab Island School a student fell through the stage which was eaten away with termites. The student who was knocked unconscious by the fall has now recovered. A carpenter called Sainey Sanney was engaged to repair the stage where around 10m of 200mm x 75mm mahogany beams were purchased to replace missing beams. The stage was double skinned and bonded using 12mm treated plywood. Members of Keith FC, Gunners FC, Atlantic Young Stars FC, New Police Line FC, the staff and children from the school took part in the largest building project in Banjul during the Christmas break. Following three days of hard work the stage was repaired.

11 January 2005 - Glowstar Lanterns

Glowstar lantern and solar panel for rechargingThree Glowstar lanterns (Glowstar website) and associated solar panels, were taken out in October 2004 and given to compounds that have a large number of school children needing to do homework, and no electricity to provide light in the evenings. This brings the total number of Glowstars taken out to four - the first unit, taken out in October 2003, has proved to be very popular indeed with the compound in which it was installed. A complete unit of Glowstar plus solar panel costs about 100 including VAT - if anyone would like to sponsor such a unit for a family compound, please contact us contact pageant

News Archive 2004

30 December 2004 - New Resource Centre picture There is a new photo showing progress on the Resource Centre at Sinchu Baliya.

22 December 2004 - Reports on Pippa and Ian's visit in October

  • Unloading containers During the summer of 2004 Pageant sent many items to The Gambia, using FROGS containers and a consignment via Kamino Redcoat. Both loads arrived at roughly the same time, and were unloaded at Bakau New Town school for further distribution. Pageant now faces increased costs shipping goods, as FROGS have lost their warehouse, and we will no longer be able to hitch as many rides in their containers.
  • Progress at Bakalarr Two new classroom blocks have been completed by the State Education Department, with funds from 'Future in our Hands'. Pageant is involved in three new projects: a multipurpose court for sports, a concrete play area for the nursery class and a dedicated home economics classroom, in memory of a Pageant member who died last year.
  • Sinchu Baliya Science Club The Science Club continues to flourish. Pippa and Ian presented prizes for the best Pageant entries for the 'Fascinated by Birds' competition, run in co-operation with Schools Across the World (SAW). They also presented a pair of binoculars for use by the whole club.

8 December 2004 - New Video Clips We have two new video clips, which you can see by going to the new Video Clips Index page. The first clip is the original one of the Bakalarr nursery class, soon after it opened in February 2004. The second clip is a new one showing children at Bakalarr nursery playing with their new ride-on toys from Bramley Nursery School in October 2004. The third clip is a new one showing the children at Life Nursery School in October 2004.

16 November 2004 - New & updated pages Pageant helps three more schools in The Gambia, and continues to support ongoing projects:

  • Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre - Construction of the Resource Centre at Sinchu Baliya is being continued using some of the money provided by Pageant member Chris Hyde and colleagues, from their Three Peaks Challenge sponsorship. The initial funding was provided by the staff at CEA, where Pageant member Linda Murgatroyd ran a very successful raffle last Christmas.
  • Jurunku School - Jurunku School has dilapidated buildings, a derelict kitchen and  disintegrating floors. A Pageant member has made helping this school his personal project.
  • Siffoe School - Pageant member, Mo Dawkins, has identified Siffoe School as needing help to complete an unfinished classroom block.
  • Wesley School - The main problem at Wesley School, in Banjul, is a smoke damaged kitchen.  Pageant member, Andrew Rattray, will fund this work in memory of his parents and and uncle, who went to the Wesley Methodist Chapel in Launceston.

7 November 2004 - New Page - Ousman F Sowe's paintings

31 August 2004 - Packing another container Another FROGS container was packed on Saturday 11 September, to arrive in The Gambia in October, just before Pippa and Ian get there. Along with many other donated items, a Surrey Nursery School gave some great ride-on toys, which are going to Bakalarr for the recently-started nursery class.

27 August 2004 - Three Peaks Challenge & Sinchu Baliya Resource Centre We received 1,125.00 from Chris Hyde and his friends, resulting from sponsorship of their Three Peaks Challenge. A large proportion of this will be used to complete the Resource Centre which has already been started for Sinchu Baliya school. See story and pictures

31 July 2004 - Packing Day Another consignment of goods was packed for dispatch to The Gambia.

9 July 2004 - Three Peaks Challenge completed Pageant member Chris Hyde and his team completed the Three Peaks Challenge, climbing the three highest peaks in England (Scafell Pike), Scotland (Ben Nevis) and Wales (Snowdon). , all within 24 hours. See full story and pictures

5 July 2004 - Horsham Rotary Club Charity Day Pageant will again have a stand at the Horsham Rotary Club Charity Day - this time to be held at Collyers Sixth Form College, Horsham on Saturday 10 July, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. This will be Kemo's first UK public engagement, so we are hoping it will keep fine for him!

2 July 2004 - More help for Kemo. Wandifa becomes Pageant's second agent. Pageant now have so many school projects and sponsored children that Kemo needs help with all the organisation and travelling. Since February, Wandifa Saidykhan has become Pageant's second agent in The Gambia.
See our new
Wandifa page.

2 July 2004 - Newsletter No3 issued Our June 2004 newsletter has been sent out to all our members. If you are a member, and haven't received yours, then please get in touch.

14 June 2004 - Kemo to visit UK in July We are getting ready to welcome Kemo to the UK.  He is due to arrive early in July for a six weeks visit. During his stay he will be visiting several schools and meeting as many Pageant members and sponsors as possible.  This will be a big trip for Kemo, as he has not travelled outside The Gambia before.  He is very excited about the prospect and we hope he will both enjoy his time here and come to understand more about the British people and their way of life.  We will soon be circulating members with the date of a 'meet Kemo' day, which will be in late July or early August.

21 April 2004 - Video clips Children at Bakalarr Nursery School and sponsored children on the beach. Access these through the Nursery Page or the Site Map.

23 March 2004 - The wall paintings The boundary wall around Bakalarr School was completed in July 2003. Since then, Ousman, a Grade 9 pupil, and the teacher in charge of art & crafts have decorated the wall around the school with numerous pictures - turning it into an incredible art gallery. See the pictures.

23 March 2004 - The vegetable gardens Bakalarr School now has two additional completely new gardens, planted out with the seeds donated by Suttons and Unwins. The vegetables are used in the school kitchens and are sold to provide funds. The gardens also provide a valuable teaching resource for the agricultural science programme. See the latest pictures.

23 March 2004 - The nursery class The headmaster ay Bakalarr has started a nursery class. There is no State provision for Nursery Education in The Gambia, so this will receive no financial assistance from Government sources. Pageant is helping with redecoration of the classroom, and plans to help with furniture, equipment and toys in the not-too-distant future. See our new web page.

23 March 2004 - Sporting achievements The sports equipment that PAGEANT has given to Bakalarr School has generated a resurgence of enthusiasm in many aspects of physical education. It has enabled the school to offer Sports Science as an exam subject and the children are now able to enter competitions that were previously closed to them. Bakalarr won the District Athletics Schools competition in January 2004, having competed against several larger and longer established schools. This means that they will be able to take part in the National Schools Competition in April 2004, which takes place in the National Stadium near Banjul - they will also be able to host the District event next year. The school is also hosting the Gala District Football Competition during the summer of 2004. Pippa and Ian took several items out in February to assist with this event, including footballs, pumps, a fully equipped First Aid haversack, whistles and lanyards for the referees, and a whiteboard and markers for recording the scores.

2 March 2004 - Raffle of watercolour bad news for mosquitoes An original watercolour donated by artist Joan Dobie raised over 200 when raffled at the Atlantic hotel in Banjul. The money was used to purchase mosquito nets for the village of Jarreng, which should considerably reduce the number of cases of malaria during this next rainy season.

31 January 2004 - Packing containers for the Gambia The next consignment of containers was packed with 189 boxes of Pageant-donated material and some furniture. As before, Pageant used containers being sent to The Gambia by the Friends of Gambian Schools (FROGS) charity, and again we would like to say how much we really appreciate this. We are thinking of having monthly packing/sorting meetings for local members, to spread the load out a bit. Contact Pageant for further details. Click here for a list of the sort of things needed, and see how things get distributed in The Gambia.

24 January 2004 - Pageant AGM 34 members attended the Pageant AGM, about three times as many as last year. Everyone seemed to be really pleased, both with progress and with the opportunity to meet other members.  In particular, those who have not been to The Gambia were keen to talk to those who had. The new Pageant business cards were ready (thanks for both speed and a very generous deal to ImPact Printing, tel. 01256 762490). Many members took some, and a large batch will be sent to The Gambia for Kemo and the Gambia Experience hotel reps to give to holiday makers who express interest in helping children or schools.

20 January 2004 - New page - women's groups In The Gambia, small agricultural and rural craft enterprises are often operated by women's groups. The women may have only a very basic education. Pageant helps the Busumbala Women's Group by providing literacy and numeracy classes. Click here for our new page.

03 January 2004 - Computers for The Gambia Brenda and Keith Farrington returned from The Gambia, after checking the progress of various IT installations. Computers, some donated by Oxford Instruments are being used in Crab Island School and the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital. Click here for their report.

Unwanted computers can make a vital contribution to developing countries like The Gambia, so if you have any which you want to donate please let us know and Pageant will collect and send them. See also the list of other suitable equipment, which we are always looking for.

News Archive 2003

27 November 2003 - School visits During the recent trip to The Gambia, Ian and Pippa visited 12 schools, 4 colleges and the University, and managed to see 51 of our 60 sponsored children. Educational supplies, including more microscopes donated by the RMS, were taken to the schools and colleges. full details and pictures

27 November 2003 - Sponsorship update The number of children sponsored by Pageant has now risen to 60. Most of these children are fully supported as described on our Sponsorship page. We have also set up an Emergency Fund for children who have progressed some way in school but whose parents can now not afford the fees. The fund provides for 'one-off' payments of a term's or a year's fees for these children who would otherwise be excluded from school at a crucial stage in their education. So far, 15 children have benefited from this fund and we would like to be able to extend it further. full details and pictures

9 November 2003 - Toilets at Bakalarr finished - more microscopes One of the highlights of Ian and Pippa's recent visit to The Gambia was the opening of the two toilet blocks at Bakalarr School. See the pictures The opening ceremony was part of a  truly memorable day of celebration and welcome. Two further microscopes were presented to the school, as part of the batch of ten donated by the RMS, along with a large number of other items, and prizes were presented to winners of the Microscopical Drawing Competition.

30 September 2003 - Containers arrive in The Gambia The latest container load has reached The Gambia and has been unpacked. All the Pageant packages had arrived and most have been distributed. Some items await Pippa and Ian's visit in October. We are expecting pictures of the 'Handing over' Ceremony, and will put them on this page when we get them.

30 September 2003 - Sponsorship We have another five children fully sponsored and have arranged partial sponsorship (i.e. payment of fees, books and uniform only) to a further ten children from Pageant general funds.

30 September 2003 - New arrival The other exciting news is that Kemo and his wife Sonna now have a baby boy, born on Monday 22 September. Sonna went back to their home village, Jarreng, to have the baby. Photo's will follow in October!

28 August 2003 - Container load goes to The Gambia The latest consignment of equipment and supplies is on its way

28 August 2003 - More seeds and microscopes We received a large quantity of seeds from Suttons Seeds to send to The Gambia and the Royal Microscopical Society have sponsored the total cost of the 10 microscopes for school use that we bought (at 20% discount) from Pyser.

2 August 2003 - Horsham Rotary Club Charity Day Pageant had a stand at this event

July 2003 - Newsletter The latest edition of the newsletter was sent by post to all members in July. If you are not already a member, click here to find out about joining.

30 June 2003 - Garage Sale The Garage sale on 28 June made 110 profit - more than enough to send a secondary school age child to school for a year - and many of the visitors were sufficiently interested to take away info re membership etc and the website address.  Plus, several people brought donations of items to send out to The Gambia. So, in all, a pretty good day.

23 June 2003 - More microscopes Thanks to the Royal Microscopical Society, who are extending their sponsorship, and Pyser's discount, Pageant hope to be able to supply ten microscopes to Gambian schools, rather than the five which were planned.

23 June 2003 - Pippa's Article in RMS Proceedings Pippa Howard has written an article 'Taking microscopes to schools in The Gambia' in the June 2003 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Microscopical Society.

23 June 2003 - Toilet Blocks Latest pictures as work proceeds at Bakalarr Basic Cycle School

16 April 2003 Results of the microscope competition

8 April 2003 - Consignment of goodies reaches The Gambia

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