Billingshurst man, 79, continues to provide Ugandan families with safe water despite pandemic
A retired vicar from Billingshurst has thanked an estate agents for helping him continue his work for a charity he set up 39 years ago to provide clean, safe water and improved sanitation in Uganda, West Africa.
Andrew Pearson from the Busoga Trust has had two plaques made in honour of Henry Adams Billingshurst for the kindness of staff, particularly during the pandemic which saw Andrew forced to work from home.
Allowing the 79-year-old occasional use of a photocopier or to have an email printed out if his colleagues need him to respond on a matter of urgency has been much appreciated by Andrew and the charity which aims to eradicate poverty and improve the standard of life in rural communities for a better tomorrow.
He said: “I’m old fashioned and don’t like to use email but my good friends at Henry Adams in Billingshurst have been very kind over the years.
“None of the work we undertake in Africa could have happened without the kindness of Christina and her colleagues at Henry Adams, so I’m hugely grateful.
“It’s enabled me to continue to work from home which has been a lifeline especially over the past year.”
The work undertaken by the charity includes removing rusting water pumps and replacing them with stainless steel pipes at a rate of 25 per month – equating to 300 a year which helps some 200,000 people annually.
The charity has rehabilitated around 3,000 water holes since its founding in the early 1980s.
The plaques in honour of Henry Adams Billingshurst will be placed at two of the Trust’s latest bore holes in Bupendo Kigweeri and Budhumbula Bubanda.
Andrew – who has also raised thousands for the Busoga Trust – said: “It’s been a great privilege to help people in desperate need to access clean water.
“It’s something we so often just take for granted.
“It costs about £2,500 for a bore hole which will help about 700 people.
“We also run a very tight ship so as much of our funds as possible goes directly to impacting on people’s lives through the clean water and improved sanitation.
“I pay for all my own expenses other than an annual plane ticket to visit the locations to see the work in action, which of course I’ve not been able to do in the past year because of the pandemic.”
Andrew retired to Billingshurst in 2009 and now lives just a few minutes’ walk from the high street, but he also grew up in the village where he became curate at St Mary’s Church in the 1970s.
However, most of his priesthood was spent in London where he became increasingly concerned about divisions in society and across the world.
Keen to forge links with the developing world, a new parishioner put him in touch with a Bishop in Uganda who was equally concerned with improving facilities for people in his region.
“A letter would take days to reach Uganda so rather than exchange ideas by post, four of us flew to visit the Bishop in Uganda,” he said.
“We were shown around and the urgent need for clean water was obvious to see. It was green and greasy and yet people were drinking it and washing their clothes. It was shocking to see first hand.”
The Ugandan Bishop insisted on a water plan because Africa had seen so many pilot projects which didn’t make a significant, long term difference to the communities.
Andrew said: “When the bore holes were originally installed, they used galvanised iron which rusts so people, often the children, have to travel to get safe water. Every trip puts them in danger of being attacked and they miss school. We can put the water bores right in about three days. The impact it has is phenomenal.
“The Trust has just started work in a new area so we immediately reported to the local district officer to tell him we were planning five rehabilitation bore holes per month. He became quite emotional because they thought they’d been forgotten by the international community.”
The charity now has six trustees which receives no Government help and relies on the generosity of individuals, private sources, schools, churches and rotary clubs as well as help extended by the local community.
For more information or to donate, visit www.busogatrust.co.uk