As most of you know, I didn’t set out to publish my wildlife photographs and, indeed, for many years they stayed passively stored on hard drives tucked away behind my computer. However, once the need arose to raise funds to help Our Father’s House Ministries build the Emily Collins School in Uganda my life changed. Out went most of my other interests and activities such as mountain biking and golf and I was persuaded to put on an exhibition at St. Mary’s Church in Ferndown to raise the profile of the project to build the School. Photography was the tool we chose because I wasn’t very good at golf or mountain biking and anyway I’d exhausted the possibility of raising any more money through those activities because people had already been generous in supporting our quests to raise money for the Piam Brown Paediatric Cancer ward at University Hospital Southampton.
So photography it was then…I’d retired when Emily died so somehow, we needed to raise between £110k to £120k to dig out and construct substantial foundations that were strong enough to support a three storey kindergarten school, nursery and community centre, build the ground floor walls and the roof/base for the first floor. We still need to plaster the walls and bring electricity and water into the building before we can actually started using it effectively but we hope to get there before the end of 2021 when I next go out to visit Uganda. We started late in 2019 and, to date, we have managed to raise an amazing £75k through generous donations from family, friends and colleagues. We obviously still have some way to go before we complete the first phase but providing photographic services and products free in exchange for donations seems to be working, so raising the profile of our photography is key to letting people know what we are doing and why….
We are fundraising to build the Emily Collins School but it is much more than that. This school will rescue vulnerable children from the streets of Kisoro. It will give them shelter, provide them with food, water, medical assistance, an education and the hope of a future. That opportunity in life we accept as a ‘right’ they they can only dream and pray for.
So thank you to UKWOT for the recognition of my otter photo and, if you like it, why not ask for a print for free in exchange for a donation….And, if you don’t like Otters then there are other prints to choose from or just feel free to donate .