Today, Paul is flying back to The Gambia; unfortunately, I have too much work in the UK to join him this time, but I will be holding the fort at DAEPAM HQ by updating the blog each evening on his behalf.

Paul has worked hard to raise money for our education project, and we have exceeded our original target. I have gained a place in the Prudential Ride London 100 bike event. A few ballot free places were allocated to Surrey Fire & Rescue Service on behalf of a popular colleague, Matt Sulivan, who sadly passed away last year. Matt was an operational fire commander and worked in emergency planning including a project for the 2012 London Olympics. In 2016 Matt graduated from Coventry University with an MSc Emergency Planning & Management. I hope to use my place to raise some money for our project, but this will depend on any other plans Matt’s family and other colleagues may have. Matt was passionate about emergency planning and education.

We will be increasing our target to make the school more sustainable. We are looking into ideas such as solar panels, these would not only provide electricity for the school but would also, partly, reduce the risk of fire. Fire and Flooding are the two main types of incidents that The Gambia suffer regularly.

Pauls visit is primarily to gather more data and to provide some of the items that they require for the school with some of the money that we have already raised. I am interested in finding out The Gambia’s drowning figures. I am currently working on a project with Surrey Fire & Rescue Service which is to form partnerships to support the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy 2016 – 2026. During my research for this project, I was astounded to learn that 372,000 people lose their lives in water every year worldwide. Paul & I are both very fond of The Gambia and its communities, we have made some good friends in the Fire Service & The National Disaster Management agency who work tirelessly to prevent disaster and support those involved in such events. To learn the data on The Gambia’s drowning statistics, if they are available, may support the requirement for water safety education.

Paul is flying out this morning, and I hope to receive some photo’s and his first journal entry this evening. I look forward to following his progress and am sad that I can’t be there to catch up with old friends and see the children we are trying to support. Below you can watch a video about our fundraising efforts. Paul has been working hard towards achieving and now exceeding our initial target. Good luck Paul!

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