Not a sport for softies: Chichester Falcons pit themselves against zombies and vampires to raise over £700 for our work!
Once again, the Chichester Falcons Softball Club pulled out the stops and organised a hugely successful Softball Tournament which was held on the 19th April 2014. The second annual Chichester Softball Tournament hosted six teams from across the South, all competing for the tournament cup and helping to raise over £700 for Children on the Edge.
Held at Chichester University and hosted by Chichester Falcons Softball Club, the tournament was significantly upsized this year and featured music, a raffle, a professional photographer, hot food and softball equipment for sale.
The six teams – Brighton Beachcombers, Solent Sluggers, Vampire Batters, Chichester Falcons, Portsmouth Zombies and Southampton Spitfires – played through a round-robin style system and were then each placed into the cup, plate and spoon finals respectively.
Spitfires overcame their local rivals Zombies to take the spoon trophy, while Sluggers managed to take the plate from Beachcombers. The cup final was a fast-paced dramatic ballgame as hosts Chichester Falcons were pitted against Vampire Batters, in an attempt to reverse their drubbing from earlier in the day. However the Vampires’ quality showed through and they just managed to whip the cup away from the Falcons’ talons by two runs.
Children on the Edge want to thank David Morris and his Chichester Falcons Softball team for their enthusiasm, time and effort that went into making this year’s tournament so brilliant.
The money they raised will go a long way towards making the work of Children on the Edge possible. Our project in Bangladesh works with Rohingya refugee children from Arakan State Burma, who are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. 140,000 Rohingya have been displaced by government oppression and violence. Many flee to Bangladesh; bringing with them accounts of forced labour, rape and torture, only to be snubbed, abused and denied any form of citizenship.
In sprawling makeshift camps along the border, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able set up 90 ‘low profile’ classrooms for 2,700 of these Rohingya children to enable them to access primary education. Without this unique programme there is a risk that an entire generation of Rohingya children will grow up completely unable to read or write.
Find out more about our work with forgotten children around the world, and anyone who wants to try softball and join the Falcons should email email@example.com or visit www.chichesterfalcons.com
On the 6th April, five intrepid runners lined up with thousands of others on the start line of the Brighton Marathon 2014. Those five had chosen to slog through 26.6 miles not only for the massive personal accomplishment of being able to say they’ve run a marathon but also to fundraise for Children on the Edge.
For all five it was their first experience of running the marathon distance. John Miles, who completed the race in an astonishing 3 hours 52 minutes 05 seconds had this to say about the race “There were thousands of people along the route cheering and waving as well as various bands - particularly drummers - to jolly you along. I quite enjoyed the event and I am absolutely overjoyed by my time and results. But will I do another marathon - NO! ...well maybe…”. Having recently spoken to John, we know that he has indeed signed up already to run the Brighton Marathon again in 2015!
Another of our runners, Indra Ove, also loved her first marathon experience: “Well I did it ! My time was 4hrs 18 mins, which I'm thrilled with. The first 21 miles were great, the last 5.2 miles were really painful so I ran/limped my way to the end. But I loved it - it was so exhilarating!”
All of our runners completed the race with some absolutely smashing their personal goals; Steve Willie was aiming to run a sub 4:45 race; “The race was great, up until around the 30km mark I was really flying and was headed for a sub 4 hour finish but then I hit the dreaded wall and had to start walking/running. Oh well. I was aiming for a 4:45 finish and ended up doing it in about 4:15! So I have to be happy with that!”.
Jo Langrish and John Cotterell also ran for Children on the Edge on the day and both achieved fantastic finish times.
Aside from the accomplishment of finishing the race, all of our runners have been raising funds for Children on the Edge. Between them, they’ve raised over £2500 for our work in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
If you would like further information about our projects please do not hesitate to browse our 'What we do' page.If you're interested in running for us, contact the team at Children on the Edge, or think about signing up for the Chichester Half Marathon in October!
Last month our Director Rachel Bentley went on a research trip to Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, to look into the possibility of supporting an education project with Syrian refugee children.
Over the past three years, more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the escalating conflict between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule. The violent internal conflict has demolished entire neighbourhoods and forced more than nine million people from their homes. Around 2.5 million have had to flee to neighbouring countries, with Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon bearing the brunt, struggling to accommodate the flood of new arrivals.
Rachel noted during her trip that the Lebanese people were incredibly hospitable, but how after three years of a large influx of Syrian refugees (now a quarter of the population), tensions are starting to rise. The Lebanese government is not allowing large camps in the area. As a result, wherever you look around Bekaa Valley, small settlements of 50-100 families have sprung up.
Most of these camps have satisfactory sanitation, and tents have been provided through the UN. Our Lebanese partner currently provides health clinics and supplies to two settlements. In one of these settlements they are running a successful school.
Children on the Edge will be supporting this local partner in starting a second school in the neighbouring camp, with their own refugee Syrian teachers. Where other projects of this kind bring in teachers from the outside, this model raises up teachers within the community, enabling literacy to grow and the use of their own Syrian curriculum.
Our partner has built strong relationships with the Syrian community and through this have discerned a real need for further provision of education in the camps. The school will be able to cater for 74 children and the tent structure is already being prepared.
Please do watch this space for further news about this new project and consider donating to our work.
240 local children came down to Priory Park on Easter Saturday to celebrate a decade of spring time fun and learning at our Anniversary Easter Chocolate Trail.
This family event has been held annually by Children on the Edge and sponsored by Montezumas Chocolates for the last ten years. Each year has presented local children with a different theme, twist or challenge, and this anniversary event was no exception.
To celebrate 10 years of the event and 10 years of Children on the Edge being based in Chichester, we presented an array of interactive stands, beautifully illustrated by artist Hannah George, to highlight 10 children’s rights that we support around the world.
Through these stands the children encountered a thumb print’ map of the UK, a beautiful tipee from Bell Tent Parties, a ‘find the words’ ball pool, a teddy bear hospital and (possibly the most exciting) they collected delicious Montezuma’s chocolates along the way.
After the trail there was more to enjoy with a bunting clad vintage style tearoom, candy floss stall, ‘Egg-lympics’ challenge, Bouncy castle and ’Chairo-planes’ fairground ride. All this alongside the usual array of refreshments, crafts and stalls.
Children from schools around the area had also been designing their own Easter eggs for the Easter Trail Competition, in order to win a Montezuma’s chocolate egg with their design on it. The two talented winners were Mary from Kingsham Primary with her ‘cheeky face’ design, and Zara from Birdham Primary with her Easter rabbit design!
Ben Wilkes, Head of UK at Children on the Edge said ’This has been a fantastic way to celebrate 10 years of a great local event, we’re proud to be able to work alongside Montezuma’s for this time and glad that we can work in some of the most difficult situations across the globe, whilst having such a wonderful support base in our home town”.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Montezuma’s, to the huge number of local businesses who came along or donated prizes and finally to our wonderful group of volunteers for making the day possible.
“Standing on top of Mont Blanc is a major event in any mountaineer's career and is particularly challenging if you are attempting it within a week” says Andrew.
This is something of an understatement, considering the context in which Andrew is taking on this challenge. Any attempt to reach the summit of Monte Blanc is a huge undertaking, particularly in mid September when the conditions can become almost Himalayan towards the top. Andrew will be constantly roped up with crampons on and ice axe at the ready, but there are a few other reasons that make this challenge particularly formidable.
20 months ago following a routine blood test, Andrew was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since then he has been using a combination of natural diet and exercise to combat the disease. A few weeks after his return from Mont Blanc he will be celebrating his 65th birthday, and as a more ‘seasoned climber’, it will take a lot of extra training to achieve the level fitness and energy that he will need to be successful.
To mark this achievement, Andrew has decided to raise money and awareness for Children on the Edge. He has made the connection between the challenges he is facing in life, with the children we work with who, he says ‘through no fault of their own, have appalling challenges just to survive’.
One of the areas that we are currently working in is Kachin State, Burma. Here, together with local partners, we are providing Early Childhood Development for 1645 children who have been displaced by violent conflict in the last few years.
Andrew describes how he found this project particularly moving: “In this mountainous region children are caught up in a conflict that has left them displaced, without warm clothes and even food to survive. When I think that I will be in the mountains swathed in a duck down jacket to protect me from the elements I feel I must do whatever I can to create awareness of these children’s plight and help to clothe and feed them appropriately. I can’t do that on my own but with the help of friends, family and anyone who hears about this, in partnership with Children on The Edge we can make a real difference to these children’s lives”.
We’re hugely grateful to Andrew for taking on this challenge, and will be updating you with tales of his adventures in September. You can support him by donating on his Just Giving page, or texting MONT65£5 to 70070 to donate £5.