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North Yorks gran helping fight deadly Ebola in Africa

A grandmother from North Yorkshire puts herself on the front-line of the fight against the Ebola outbreak that is engulfing Western Africa.

Cokie van de Velde, from Whixley, is an aid worker who has already been to both Liberia and Guinea supporting doctors as part of a team who are bravely battling to contain the deadly disease.

And despite the risk to her own safety, she is returning to Africa to try and save more lives as Gaynor Barnes reports.

Learning Disability Week charity trek supports African enterprise

Members of the walking group get ready for their charity trek Credit: Leeds City Council

A group of people with learning disabilities will put their best foot forward later this month to help a community farm in Africa.

The group of more than 60 walkers, from Leeds, will take on the 10k trek on June 17, hoping to raise cash to improve the lives of people living almost 6,000 miles away.

The circular walk from Burnsall to Linton has been organised during Learning Disability Week and will support the charity Africa’s Gift, which works to improve the lives of people in Lesotho and build relationships between different communities.


York optician brings specs to Senegal

Spectacles were given out from stocks collected in York

An optician from York has travelled to Africa for the eleventh time, bringing used spectacles and distributing them to people in need of them.

Ruth Perrott has visited some of the most remote areas in the continent combating the early onset of presbyopia - the need for reading glasses.

In the UK people typically begin to need glasses around the age of 45, but in equatorial Africa, people as young as 30 struggle to work as a result of decreasing eyesight.

Without social security, this pushes many who cannot work into poverty, but Ruth's work helps people battle failing vision.

Over a thousand pairs of glasses were distributed

Ruth and her team saw a total of 1304 people and dispensed 1030 pairs of spectacles.

Many of the spectacles were provided by the Rotary York Ainsty Specsorters who have collected a library of used glasses to be cleaned and donated.

In the busiest clinic they helped 150 people in just five continuous hours.

Teacher honoured with lifetime achievement award for charity work in Africa

A retired teacher from Wakefield has been given a lifetime achievement award for his dedication to making a real difference to the lives of some of the poorest people in Africa.

Over the last 25 years Barry Brindley has led a project that's raised £300,000 for schools and community groups in Malawi. Even though he's retired from the Grammar School at Leeds his work continues and he's been honoured at the Independent school awards.

He joined Gaynor and Duncan in the Calendar studio.

Trekking across Africa

Chris in Ethiopia

A chef from Addingham in West Yorkshire is taking part in a trek across Africa to raise money for a hospital.

25-year-old Christopher Stanfield began his journey in September, walk from Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to the Edna Adan Maternity hospital in Somaliland, for which he is trying to raise £100,000. He is due back in Yorkshire later this month. For more on Chris' journey click here.

Chris Stanfield

Jailed pilot returns to Africa

David Simpson on previous visit to Africa Credit: family photo

A pilot from North Yorkshire who spent five months in a Central African Republic jail on a mass murder charge has returned to the country. David Simpson has gone back to the war-torn area less than two months after being cleared of killing 13 illegal gold miners.

The 25 year old now plans to set up a string of businesses and a charitable wildlife haven in the place where he worked as a bush pilot for a big-game hunting firm.


"Homecoming" party for imprisoned North Yorkshire pilot

The family of a North Yorkshire pilot who has been imprisoned in the Central African Republic are holding a party at their home in his honour.

David Simpson from Gillamoor, near Kirbymoorside has been in jail since April. He was arrested after reporting a massacre he says he stumbled upon.

David Simpson

His family are holding the party, which was originally intended as a homecoming celebration, to maintain their support for him.

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