Legacy lifeline for children in Africa

Lynne with her former Chester Road School teacher Peggy Ellis.
Lynne with her former Chester Road School teacher Peggy Ellis.
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WORK will begin on a school for deprived children in Ghana, thanks to a former Sunderland teacher.

The Peggy Ellis Primary School will be built in Gbenfu, in remote Northern Ghana, named after a Chester Road School teacher who left thousands of pounds to The Wulugu Project charity in her will.

Lynne Symonds, who was taught by Peggy at Chester Road School, set up The Wulugu Project which works to reduce poverty through education.

Lynne said: “The money is on its way and we will get building within the next few days.

“Because it is such a remote area we have to buy in sand to start building the bricks. It’s not like normal building. We are going into the dry season now so it should only take about two or three months to build because there’s no rain.”

Lynne lived in Chester Road, Sunderland, with her parents Tom and Mary Luccock. Her mum now lives in Silksworth.

Lynne’s work in Africa has earned her the accolade of honorary tribal chief of two tribes, each of a million people and many hundreds of villages in the most deprived area of Northern Ghana.

The school will provide a safe environment for hundreds of children who are eager to learn but have nowhere to go for an education.

Lynne said: “It’s lifesaving without a doubt. All the research shows that education is the key in the long run in helping people out of poverty.

“All the children want to learn and go to school. Just because they come from neglected backgrounds, it does not mean they are not ambitious.”

The school will cater for children aged five to 14. There are already more than 450 youngsters enrolled as well as younger children who will attend the kindergarten.

Lynne had reconnected with Peggy over the last few years and she showed an interest in The Wulugu Project and left money to five other charities as well as Wulugu in her will.

Lynne said: “At her funeral, at St Nicholas’ Church, it was touching to hear a mention for Wulugu, but we were astounded to learn later that she has remembered us in her will.”

Peggy died at her home in Barnes last April aged 96.

“It was quite overwhelming,” Lynne said. “We are not building this school in memory of Peggy, we are doing it because of her.

“I just wish she could know how important her thoughtfulness has been.”

Twitter: @sunechohannah