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Africa charity calls for help

PUBLISHED: 11:10 12 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:32 03 July 2010

A Norfolk-based Africa charity is appealing for assistance as the credit crunch takes its toll on some of its core supporters.

Former police officer Phil Feller and his wife Joan have devoted the past decade to building and running a school for the blind in the Gambia.

A Norfolk-based Africa charity is appealing for assistance as the credit crunch takes its toll on some of its core supporters.

Former police officer Phil Feller and his wife Joan have devoted the past decade to building and running a school for the blind in the Gambia.

But having just returned to their home in Caister, near Yarmouth, after a three-week trip to West Africa, taking out donated supplies and addressing a catalogue of problems at the school from broken toilets to failed electrics, Mr Feller admitted the last year had become increasingly tough for their charity Friends of Govi.

He said: “A lot of pensioners have been good to us over the years but many are now finding their savings badly affected by the credit crunch. The plunging value of the pound has not helped either.”

Mr Feller, the village bobby in Caister for 20 years, said the economic situation had made it hard work keeping their feeding programme going for the mal-nourished youngsters.

“Joan has done 91 car boot fairs in the last year, including one in a blizzard on Yarmouth racecourse, and nearly all the proceeds have had to go on the feeding programme,” he said.

During their last visit, Mr Feller added to the school playground with a new merry-go-round and installed technology that allows youngsters with some sight to read books magnified on to a television screen.

Since the school opened in Banjul it has grown to take on a nursery class and classes for visually impaired adults who began walking off the street and asking to be educated.

Mr Feller said youngsters who once might have ended up as street beggars were increasingly going on to main-stream education and the charity supported them through high school and college by providing tape recorders, Braille machines and Braille paper - one of their original pupils had now returned to the school as a teacher.

Anyone wishing to support the charity can send cheques to Friends of Govi, 1 Humber Close, Caister, Norfolk, NR30 5UF or contact the Fellers on 01493-721506.

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