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Baptists make a splash for African project

Suffolk canoe team 2011A team from Norwich Central Baptist Church led the way last weekend in a fundraising paddle for Burkina Faso, in West Africa.


Stephen Gladwell, leader of the the men's group at the church, pulled together a keen group of canoeists, which included James East, one of the pastors of the church.


The project they were supporting is run by the Evangelical Development Organistion in Burkina Faso, a partner of Christian Aid. Its aim is to hold back the advance of the Sahara Desert by planting trees and grasses, and to provide tools, livestock and training for farmers in the area. 


The canoeists covered a stretch of the River Stour between Sudbury and Bures, which included a lock and several weirs. The NCBC team developed a competitive edge as the day went on, and left the rest of the flotilla out of sight and earshot.


Local Christian Aid Co-ordinator Eldred Willey, who joined the trip, said: "I am delighted that the men's group at NCBC decided to devote their outing to such a good cause. Because of a matched funding offer, we are able to get this sponsorship quadrupled by the European Union."


The NCBC team were joined by canoeists from Bures Baptist church, Great Cornard Christian Fellowship, Norwich Family Life Church, and St Gregory's Anglican church in Sudbury.


James East overtakesGeoff and Ann Davies, who run the River Stour Boating Company, kindly offered Christian Aid a reduced rate of hire, which made this event possible.


This canoe trip was the final fundraiser for the Burkina Faso appeal, which has brought in over £85,000 via the Norwich office of Christian Aid over the last two-and-a-half years.


Christian Aid is now turning its attention to Sierra Leone, for which is has negotiated a new matched funding offer from the European Union. It will be working with the local Methodist Church in Sierra Leone to update a hospital in a mountainous, forested region of the country, providing water, electricity, trained staff and an ambulance. More information is available from Eldred Willey at the Kings Centre, King Street, Norwich, NR1 1PH, 01603 620051,


The pictures show some of the NCBC team (above). Standing left to right are Tristan Baldry, Chris Dunn, Stephen Gladwell, Stuart Setchell (with Natalie Pearce) and James East.

Below - James East and Stephen Gladwell overtake the intructors.



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