supporting rural development projects in northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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2016 Annual Newsletter

2015 Annual Newsletter

2014 Annual Newsletter

2013 Annual Newsletter

2012 Annual Newsletter

2011 Annual Newsletter

2010 Annual Newsletter

2009 Annual Newsletter

2008 Annual Newsletter

2007 Annual Newsletter

2006 Annual Newsletter

2005 Annual Newsletter

2004 Annual Newsletter

 


2017 News Update

2016 News Update

2015 News Update

2014 News Update

2013 News Update

2012 News Update

2011 News Update

2010 News Update

2009 News Update

2008 News Update

 

 

2005 News Update

 

 

An exciting families and friends group visit to KwaZulu - October 2016

Thirteen Helwel Trust supporters, including four children, had a wonderful and informative two week visit to Zululand in October to visit the projects we support through our partner charities. The photos are representative of what they saw. Africa Ignite is a new partnership for us. It includes "Wow Zulu", an enterprise selling handcrafts to tourists at Isandlwana and also Dundee Action Desk where young people run an embryonic citizens' advice bureau.

The Creches which were visited were all in the deprived Nkandla area. Helwel has paid for the training of the pre-school teachers through TREE (Training and Resources in Early Education). In the Nqutu area it was a particular thrill to see the new Toy Library, joint funded by us with Breadline Africa. This is already well used and looks very attractive. Thembi Ndondo, well known to us from previous group visits, is the Field Officer for ACAT (Africa Co-operative Action Trust) in the Nqutu area. He took the group to see vegetable gardens and small business enterprises which have been launched from the "platform" of groups of 5 people trained by ACAT in these poor rural communities - "G5s".

Drought is currently a major problem. It is always a highlight to visit our UKhanye friends at the settlement of Ngonini near Nqutu where we support community care, particularly of the AIDS orphans. The Barker building, funded initially by Helwel from the Anthony and Maggie Barker legacy, continues to be improved by our funding. The local firm Corobricks has recently erected an additional building for the feeding scheme.

A stay at the Diocesan Conference Centre at KwaNzimela enabled the visitors to meet up with Rev Cyprian Mncwango and his wife Boni who had been our guests in the UK last year. The nuns of the Convent of the Holy Name were also delighted to be visited. The Sharp family went on to see again the pre-school at Ntambanana, named and funded in memory of their dear Chloe. Of course, there were plenty of holiday opportunities along the way and the children were never bored. Game reserves, Shaka-Land and the Indian ocean were visited. The Wiseman family in Eshowe were generous hosts as usual and hosted a meeting with Bishop Monument.
















The visit of Cyprian and Boni Mncwango to the UK, June - July 2015

Retired Head Teacher and non-stipendiary priest Cyprian Mncwango and his wife Bonisile visited the UK for 3 weeks this summer. Their visit was a great success in every way, reviving old friendships and links and forging new ones. Cyprian was on the Board of Helwel in Zululand in past years and has recently been to see both old and new Helwel-related projects. Addressing supporters who came on the annual Helwel Hike, he gave an inspiring and upbeat assessment of what we have achieved over 40 years.

Their visit started with a week with Howard and Carolyn Mowbray near Fareham, followed by stays of several days with Andrew and Tessa Pemberton near Stroud, Liz and Owen Williams near Monmouth, and David and Katherine May near Shrewsbury. Then there was a visit to the Diocese of Carlisle which is linked with the Diocese of Zululand, staying in the Bishop's house in Keswick. Cyprian is chaplain to the nuns of the Convent of the Holy Name at KwaMagwaza in Zululand so they were welcomed next at the Mother House in Derby. Finally, on to London to stay with Catherine Budgett-Meakin for some sight-seeing and the Helwel Hike on Hampstead Heath.






Helwel Hike 2015

The Helwel Hike on July 11th on Hampstead Heath was a very special event as Cyprian and Bonisile Mncwango from Ulundi in KwaZulu Natal were with us at the end of their three week visit to the UK. We started with a sandwich lunch in the rooms of the HIghgate Society, accompanied by a powerpoint presentation by Catherine Budgett-Meakin's neighbour, Richard Webber, about the Heath and its history. Then we caught a bus to the start of the walk, so beautiful on that hot sunny day, expertly led by Richard. Back in Highgate we found that some more "old friends" had arrived so the enthusiastic reunions continued over tea and cakes. Finally, and very fittingly, Cyprian spoke movingly about the "Seeds" that Helwel Trust has planted in Zululand over the past 39 years. There have been some that fell on stony ground but most have grown and flowered, some in unexpected ways and places. He praised us for our efforts, loyalty and determination. A fuller version of his talk will be in the Next Helwel Newsletter.

The Hike raised money for the provision of a new Container "Toy Library", more accurately described as an "Early Years Resource Library" which will be sited near a TREE pre-school at Nkandla. We are very hopeful of obtaining joint funding for it with Breadline Africa, thanks to links forged by Helwel supporter Claire Brisby.


Leo and Pauline Aylen's visit to KwaZulu Natal, August 2014

Long-term Helwel members Leo and Pauline Aylen visited South Africa in August 2014. They were able to see several of the projects which we support. They saw the tragedy of the poverty and AIDS stricken rural areas but also the warm hospitality of the Zulu people. Leo's father was Bishop of Zululand so he has many associations with the area. These can be experienced in his poetry. Some of Leo's photos can be seen on the Gallery page.


Helwel Hike 2014

The Helwel Hike took place in Dorset on June 14th, following the Lawrence of Arabia Trail from the Bovington Tank Museum. The weather was perfect and the walk suited most people in that it easily allowed people to come for part of the time. The "Lawrence of Arabia trail" gave a lot of added interest, and visiting TE Lawrence's grave at Moreton and his cottage at Cloud's Hill. Moreton church had magnificent windows etched by Lawrence Whistler. We got into the church just in advance of a wedding and were delighted that a volunteer guide could tell us all about it.


37 supporters of all ages plus 7 dogs joined in the hike


Helwel Gig

A good time was had by all at the Helwel Gig in Gloucestershire on 26th April. £850 was raised, and a few calories lost in the dancing!

Bill and Justine Foster made it all possible. The village hall bar staff could be seen boogy-ing behind the bar and want us to come again.

A big thank you to Bill and the other members of Mal Practice and the Sick Notes, who did a great job (and enjoyed themselves!).

 


South Africa 2014



Twelve supporters of Helwel Trust visited our partner projects, TREE, ACAT and Ukhanye in KwaZulu Natal in February 2014.

A most productive, instructive and enjoyable time was had. You will be able to read all about it in the Newsletter soon.



Part 1 | Part 2

The Grizzly

On 9th March 2014 Cathie and Adrian Lowe ran the Grizzly fell race in Devon. This involved 20 miles of shingle beach, steep cliff paths and endless amounts of bog. They did this partly because they enjoy running but also in memory of their dear friend, Russ Sharp. They were out with Russ on Dartmoor when he collapsed and died. Cathie's last words to him were promising to run the Grizzly. Russ had been closely involved with Helwel for many years. So far they have raised over £400 for Helwel.

Catherine and Adrian Lowe ran
the Grizzly to support Helwel


Bournemouth Marathon

Sally Walker missed out on running the the Bournemouth half marathon in
October due to a bad dose of flu. Instead, Sally did her own version of the
run in November, from Sandbanks to Southbourne and back, following the
lovely curved route along the gorgeous promenade of the Bournemouth
coastline.

 

Well done on raising £777 for Helwel Trust, supported by Chris (on rollarbades) and Ewan (in his pushchair)!


Helwel Hike 2013

I confess to being a little daunted when I learnt that we'd picked the same weekend for our annual hike as the Silverstone Formula 1 Grand Prix with its start venue only about three miles away! However, I was committed to do my bit to raise much needed funds for ACAT's adult educational materials, so there was no backing out!


We left there and walked the short distance to Weston Hall, the home of the Sitwell family, where we were supplied with sandwiches which we ate in the drawing room looked on by portraits of earlier members of the Sitwell family. After lunch George, the great nephew of Edith Sitwell, gave us a fascinating conducted tour of his family home and then provided us with tea and cake before waving us off on our return journey across fields to Claire and John's home … and yet more tea and cake!

I need not have worried, and what a wonderful day we had. Our hosts Claire and John Brisby laid on a wonderful day of walking over gentle undulating countryside steeped in history, past a castellated gatehouse, to the redundant church of St John the Baptist, Plumpton. Although officially redundant, it is beautifully cared for by a group of Trustees who also ensure that there are services held there at all the major festivals.

Besides all the interesting things we saw, it was the walk and talk that was, as ever, such a wonderful part of the day. It is always so good to meet up with friends some of whom we rarely see. We don't yet know how much money was raised to purchase educational materials for ACAT but we certainly had a very good day. Thank you Claire and John for all that you gave us.

Liz Sharp


We are sad to record the death of
Sir Patrick Nairne, Sponsor of Helwel Trust

Sir Patrick has been a Sponsor of Helwel Trust giving us support from the earliest days of our Trust. It was italic writing that led to a strong friendship with our founders Anthony and Maggie Barker, Sir Patrick having been chairman of the Italic Writing Society.

The war interrupted his Oxford studies and he served in the army in North Africa, Italy and France. His distinguished front-line involvement led to the award of the Military Cross. Resuming his studies after the war he gained a first class history degree which gave him entry to the civil service. For many years he held extremely senior positions in the Ministry of Defence before moving to a key role in the Cabinet Office. From there he was asked to be head of the huge conglomerate Department of Health and Social Security as the Permanent Secretary.

Knighted GCB on retirement in 1981, he then became Master of St Catherine's College, Oxford. He was also invited to become a member of the Privy Council and Chancellor of Essex University. In a very active "retirement" he participated in, or headed, many other distinguished councils and organisations which reflected respect for his wide knowledge and experience. He loved art, particularly watercolour, and exhibited at the Royal Academy.


Sir Patrick Nairne, GCB,MC,
born 15th August 1921,
died 4th June 2013.

Full obituaries in The Times,
The Telegraph and The Guardian
newspapers.



Presentation to Howard Mowbray by our
incoming Chairman, Andrew Pemberton


Africa Calling      £23,000 raised for Helwel!

An amazing evening was spent at the extraordinary venue of the Shaka Zulu Restaurant and Lounge in Camden on the 19th November. Our long time supporter Claire Brisby came together with Louise Seligman of Breadline Africa and the Rhodes University Trust to host a fundraising evening so that the three charities would benefit equally from the money raised.

A Silent Auction of prestigious donated items and a raffle plus donations from those unable to attend all contributed to the hugely impressive total sum raised. Siyabonga kakhulu Claire!!

 


Helwel Trust was well represented amongst the 450 people who came to enjoy the African food, music and ambience.

The advice to "dress for Africa" set the tone for whacky experience of being surrounded by giant-sized African figures and walls of carved wooden animals. Even the wash basins were "crocodile skin"!


Helwel Hike 2012

A brave bishop and a bamboo cross link Cambridge with Zululand

This year the intrepid Helwel hikers followed in the footsteps of Charles Mackenzie who, when chaplain to Gonville and Caius College, walked each Sunday to assist the elderly curate in Haslingfield. Later, inspired by David Livingstone, he went to Africa and became Bishop of Malawi in 1860. Tragically he succumbed within six months to malaria but in his memory his sister gave the family fortune to the Archbishop of Cape Town to found the Diocese of Zululand.

The round trip of over 10 miles was generously sponsored by friends of Helwel so that we have raised over 2600 towards fencing of vegetable plots in Zululand.



Our struggle was against only the wind to our lunch at the pub in Haslingfield from where we went on to the church to see the fine stained glass window dedicated to Bishop MacKenzie. There we saw depicted the bamboo cross that David Livingstone placed on his grave and which now forms part of the badge of the Diocese of Zululand.


Lizzy and Rob Rhodes drive 1000 miles from John o' Groats to
Lands End in a vintage Austin 7 raising funds for Helwel Trust


Lizzy writes on her donation website -

"Last year,my husband Rob asked me to join him on an epic journey - to be his co-driver from John O Groats to Lands End in an 82 year old 1930's Austin 7 with no roof, doors or windscreen wipers! I agreed to it , but wanted to raise money for a good cause at the same time, as I think it'll be one of the most challenging things I've done!

As many of you know, I grew up in South Africa, and having been back there for our honeymoon last Christmas, it reignited the love I have for it. We grew up in a liberal community, my parents and their friends fighting against the regime that existed. It was awesome to return and see the progress the country has made. Yet nearly a quarter of the population are unemployed, and the poverty in many areas is still heartbreaking and concerning. I've learnt recently what superb community development work The Helwel Trust have done and are doing in rural areas of Kwa Zulu Natal."

Afterwards Lizzy says -

"Well, I knew it would be hard, hence the sponsorship, but my word.....it's a long way....! We're both dead chuffed to have completed the challenge though and have a new list of places we'd like to visit - mainly in Scotland and Cornwall...! So we started on Easter Saturday morning, leaving a rather grey, dull and cold John O' Groats around 10am. The hood remained down for the next 2 days despite on and off drizzle - our longest day was the second when we travelled from Pitlochry to Wigan - 283 miles - leaving Pitlochry at 9am and arriving in Wigan at 10pm....! We got to Lands End on Tuesday at 6.50pm, and then spent Wednesday morning welcoming in a few more cars, and driving back home to Bridport. There were no major car issues - in fact, we were both super impressed with how well the little car went - quite amazing really!"

Registered with the Charity Commission (Reg. number 271713 )