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Charity ball raises cash for Nepal

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 03 July 2010

FUNDRAISERS from Norfolk have helped to create a new medical centre to help some of Nepal's poorest people.

Catherine Blaiklock and husband Gyaljen Sherpa are helping to provide basic health care to the Rai and Sherpa people, many of whom have never had access to medical treatment before.

FUNDRAISERS from Norfolk have helped to create a new medical centre to help some of Nepal's poorest people.

Catherine Blaiklock and husband Gyaljen Sherpa are helping to provide basic health care to the Rai and Sherpa people, many of whom have never had access to medical treatment before.

The couple, from Lingwood, have put £20,000 of their own money into creating the Khnepalung Community Health Centre in the Arun Valley of Eastern Nepal, near to where Gyaljen, a professional mountaineer, grew up.

The centre, which they started build-ing last year, is now nearly completed and they are looking to raise funds to keep it running, and have formed the charity Nepal In Need.

They, along with Jackie Higham, secretary of the charity, treasurer Angela Woodhouse and trustee Paul Billing, held a charity ball on Saturday night. The ball included live music, a photographic display and video of the health centre and those it is helping, as well as a raffle with a top prize of £400 of champagne.

Jackie said: “We managed to raise £3,200, which in real terms will pay the wages of the staff we have at the centre for six months. People said it was nice that they were able to actually see where their money was going and how it was helping.”

The centre, which has five rooms finished, is based in the Sankhuwa-sabha district, which is an arduous three-day walk from the nearest road.

The centre is staffed by two doctors, two nurses and one pharmacist. A further health post has now been set up in the Sherpa village of Gontala, two days higher up.

Gyaljen, 43, said: “We wanted to do something which would help people. We thought about something education-wise, but having education is no good if you are ill - the health issues need to be tackled.”

Catherine, 46, and Gyaljen, who met 12 years ago when they were both at Mount Everest base camp, will go back to the centre at the end of September to oversee while work is completed on the last few rooms.

For more information on Nepal in Need, visit www.nepalinneed.org or contact Catherine on 01603 713511.

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