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Suffolk Ebola victim described poverty in Africa

Suffolk ebola victim William Pooley told of Sierra Leone's poverty and his brushes with the country's political elite shortly before he was struck down by the potentially deadly virus.

Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London
Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London Credit: PA Images
High Secure Infectious Disease Unit at The Royal Free Hospital, London
High Secure Infectious Disease Unit at The Royal Free Hospital, London Credit: PA Images

In a moving email printed in the Eyke village newsletter, he described in vivid detail his first impressions of the west African country which he had travelled to for a six-month volunteering stint at a hospice in the capital Freetown.

The 29-year-old nurse was helping to treat locals suffering from Aids, a disease which, according to the UN, 57,000 people live with and remains a lasting legacy of the country's decade-long bloody civil war.

At one village meeting Mr Pooley was confronted with armed guards, singled out by dancing "devils" because of his white skin and sampled the hospitality of the well-heeled locals made rich from the country's controversial diamond mining industry.

After pushing through a crowd outside the house we were ushered inside by police with AK47s.

The host, rich and influential thanks to diamonds, had his house boys serve us cans of ice-cold, European lager.

The deputy leader of the APC (All People's Congress) was there, apparently the second most powerful politician in the country.

– William Pooley

He told how he was treated to a show from the "devils" - locals in an assortment of costumes, their faces painted or covered with wooden masks.

The devils danced wildly to drums and gourd shakers and drew quite a crowd...As the only white face in the crowd, the devils singled me out for harassment.

In order to escape from under their hay and frock skirts I had to give them small change. It was all in good humour.

– William Pooley

But it was not all colourful entertainment and Mr Pooley also revealed the poverty and poor sanitation which blight so many lives there.

The houses are all mud-sand and palm thatch, the water is from one communal well and, of course, there is no electricity.

– William Pooley

The account was printed by his mother Jackie Pooley, who said her son had been touched by the tales of "horror" of those caught up in the country's civil war, which ended in 2002.

William Pooley is being treated in the High Secure Infectious Disease Unit at The Royal Free Hospital, London.


First British Ebola victim is from Suffolk, doctor reveals

William Pooley is loaded into an Royal Air Force (RAF) ambulance.
William Pooley is loaded into a Royal Air Force (RAF) ambulance. Credit: Reuters

It's been confirmed a man who contracted the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is from Suffolk.

Volunteer nurse William Pooley from Woodbridge is the first British national to contract the virus.

He was named by Dr Robert Garry, an American scientist who worked at the same hospital as him in the west Africa country.

He's been flown back to the UK where he'll be treated in a high-level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.


Police thank fans after peaceful East Anglian derby

Ipswich Fans
Ipswich fans relax ahead of yesterday's big game Credit: PA

Suffolk Police have thanked fans of Ipswich and Norwich for their behaviour ahead of the East Anglian derby.

Policing operations commander, Insp Matt Rose, said the game had been a fantastic sporting event for the two clubs.

"We would like to highlight the good-natured spirit shown by both sets of supporters in the build-up to the game and then afterwards.

We hope they felt we were firm, yet fair with our decisions and tactics to ensure they enjoyed the atmosphere, the game and their journeys to and from the ground.”

– Inspector Matt Rose

There were two arrests carried out for low-level trouble,

Man dies in second fatal road incident in Suffolk in 24 hours

A man has died in a road traffic collision in Suffolk.

It was the second fatal road incident on the county's roads inside 24 hours. It happened on the B1078 at Letheringham, near Woodbridge yesterday evening when the man's Ford Fiesta left the road and hit a fence.

The driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with information should contact PC Jason Lambourne of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit by telephoning 101.

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