Priest begins run from Bann to Boyne

Fr Gerry Campbell aiming to raise funds to bring water to people in Sub-Saharan Africa

A Catholic priest from the Armagh archdiocese has begun an 85 mile run from the Bann to the Boyne to raise awareness of and funds for Trócaire's Lenten campaign which is about bringing water to communities in in Malawi. Fr Gerry Campbell, who hopes to complete the run in four days, visited Malawi last January.He began his run at 9 o'clock this morning at Newbridge, Co Tyrone and hopes to arrive in Drogheda, Co Louth 2pm on Wednesday.

The greater part of his run will be in Northern Ireland where the UK government has promised to match, pound for pound, public donations to Trócaire's Lenten Campaign there. This extra funding will support programmes in Malawi and Zimbabwe for the next three years and help improve the lives of tens of thousands more people.

Fr Campbell, who is Trócaire diocesan representative for the Archdiocese of Armagh, said he was "privileged to visit Malawi ahead of the Lenten campaign, which is focusing on the global water crisis, to meet some of the communities Trócaire works with and hear first-hand the problems people are facing there."

"I met some extraordinary people during my trip.... I met the little girl on this year's Trócaire Box, Enestina, who is nine years old. Until a couple of months ago at 5am in their village in Dedza, Enestina and her mum, Eliyeta, made a one kilometre round trip every morning to fetch water for their family of six. When they got to the river there was usually a long queue. Eliyeta and Enestina returned home two hours later, laden with their precious cargo on their heads, heavy buckets of dirty water."

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He recalled how last November “Trócaire installed a drinking water pump in the village that is supplying half of the community’s water needs. But there are queues for the pump and it is being over-used as there are over 1,000 people in the village. The pump has helped but has not solved all of the village’s problems.”

He is hoping people will get behind his fundraising run. “I have seen the difference this support makes with my own eyes and it’s important that I spread the message that we can all make a difference as individuals.”

To sponsor his efforts or to take part in the run he can be emailed at gerry-campbell65@gmail.com or Peter McLoughlin at Trócaire at pmcloughlin@trocaire.ie.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times