A former nurse from Angmering who did a lot to help people in Ghana has been remembered with the naming of a school in her honour.
Karen Slowe died two years ago, aged 56, following a long illness and the Karen Slowe Junior High School has been opened in the village of Akokoa, in eastern Ghana, in her memory.
Karen helped her husband Dr Peter Slowe establish Projects Abroad, which has grown to become one of the UK’s leading global volunteer placement organisations.
Dr Slowe, executive chairman, explained Projects Abroad sends students, trainee doctors and other volunteers to countries from Senegal to Samoa.
Karen spent many months in Ghana, over a decade, and she became well known among the locals as somebody to turn to for help.
Dr Slowe said: “Karen spent a lot of time in Ghana because our son Alistair was out there from the age of 17 playing professional football for a local team.
“She really bothered about people. Karen helped local people with English, devised nutritious ways of cooking with local ingredients and cared for abandoned children.”
Karen came from Durham and met her husband when she was a nurse in Stockton-on-Tees, while he worked as a professor of geography at Durham University. They later moved to Angmering.
The grand opening of the school was attended by almost the entire 420-strong population of Akokoa, a remote part of Africa, as well as guests from England, Germany, Norway, South Africa and Togo.
Dr Slowe said: “In my speech at the opening ceremony, I said how I was moved by the real friendship shown by Chief Nyako and the village elders. She was often welcomed into homes to share fufu and groundnut soup. She was made to feel part of the community.”
Chief Nyako, speaking in the local language Twi, said the new school would give the village children somewhere accessible to continue their studies after the age of 11, as very few made the long journey to Mamfe, the regional capital.
Karen’s brother, Peter Britton, was also present at the opening.
Mr Britton said: “I hope one day to see a former pupil of Karen Slowe Junior High complete the circle and visit Angmering.”
Princely Bondzie, head teacher, said the school would have a broad curriculum, including music, theatre and sport.
Dr Slowe added: “Corporal punishment, common in schools in Ghana, is strictly outlawed.
“The school has pictures of Karen in every classroom and they make her out to be a saint, which she definitely wasn’t. But that is the way they do things and the fact is that she did do a lot of good in Ghana.”