Former Sunderland headteacher made tribal chief for a third time

Wulugu founder Lynne Symonds visits the project's newest vocational school for girls at Sawla, near the Cote D'Ivoire border
Wulugu founder Lynne Symonds visits the project's newest vocational school for girls at Sawla, near the Cote D'Ivoire border
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SUNDERLAND’S own African tribal chief will be honoured when she is made chief for the third time.

Lynne Symonds is already chief of two tribes of over two million people in remote areas of Ghana.

She will be “enskinned” as chief of the Dagombas, a tribe covering a region of 8,000 square miles across remote and impoverished Northern Ghana.

The former headteacher, who used to live in Farringdon, said: “I’m quite overwhelmed, to have a third is really quite difficult to understand.”

“It is so important because it will help me work more effectively out there, it gives me great access within Ghana so it helps us to help more people.”

In 1996, Lynne was made “chief of enlightenment and education” of the million-strong Mamprusi tribe.

In 2004, she became chief of the Gonja tribe of three-quarters of a million people.

Lynne’s charity, the Wulugu Project, works in Ghana to reduce poverty through education and has built and equipped nine primary schools, provided education in more than 100 villages and helped more than 200,000 children out of the cycle of poverty.

The honour of tribal chief of the Dagombas is in response to the work that Lynne has done in improving life chances for girls and women in Ghana.

The ceremony will see people from many villages coming to join the long celebrations, during which Lynne will be dressed in chief’s robes, sit on traditional animal skins, and honoured with her new title.

“I keep thinking is it really happening to me,” said Lynne, whose mum Mary Luccock lives in Silksworth. “It takes your breath away that we’ve done so much with so little.

“While a handful of non-natives have been made village chiefs, I think I’m the only white woman to have this tribal chief honour bestowed on me.”

To donate or find out more about the Wulugu Project, call Fulwell couple Dave or Margaret Garrett on 548 5119, or visit www.wulugu.co.uk