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Charity run raises awareness of Gambia water project

Emdad Rahman

A COMMUNITY RUN and event at Barking Park has boosted a local runner’s bid to help provide fresh and clean water to those in need. 

Lynne Ali-Northcott, originally from Portsmouth, has been a Londoner since 1997 and has been running for two and a half years after being affected by personal tragedy. She said, “I started by running the Race for Life after people who are close to me became affected by cancer, including my nan, who sadly passed away. This sparked me off and I have since caught the running bug. I’ve kept pushing and have run 15 events so far.”

Lynne organised a community run event in Barking Park to raise awareness of the plight of people who have little or no access to fresh and clean water. A sunny afternoon saw seasoned runners joining novices to compete in the 5K course. Each runner who took part earned a medal as a celebration of their participation and support.

Lynne explained, “Today’s event involves the running and non-running community and has been perfect in how it has displayed integration, diversity and the coming together of our community for a great cause. I learnt about Penny Appeal and like the idea of providing water for needy people, and I applied for a place in the 2018 London Marathon. My advice to potential runners is to overcome anxieties and join a running community. We’re a really friendly bunch and everyone is always welcome.”

The village of Sifoe in the Kombo region of The Gambia has no water distribution system. Some families have tried to dig their own wells, but these soon dry out or collapse. A recent appeal saw the digging of a deep well, which is now benefiting over 500 people in the community. With a clean water supply the people of Sifoe are healthier and have better sanitation.

A child dies from drinking dirty water every 20 seconds. That’s 4,000 children every day whose deaths can be prevented. For millions of people in developing countries, access to water is not as simple as turning on a tap. They have to walk for miles to reach the nearest water source – and when they get there the water is dirty and diseased. They drink it knowing it could kill them. Clean water means healthier lives, improved livelihoods and, ultimately, a route out of poverty.

Lynne is running the Virgin London Marathon 2018 for Penny Appeal because she wants to help provide clean water to the needy. Each well costs £4,000 and the Dagenham 88 Runner has set herself a target of £5,000. Donations will help the construction of an entire water well that will serve a community day in, day out, providing them with fresh, clean water.

As well as being integral to human life, a clean water supply is also indispensable to feed livestock so that a regular source of income can be maintained, paving the way for the freedom of self-sufficiency many of us take for granted.

The Penny Appeal makes charity affordable and rewardable through its work in 30 crisis-hit countries, providing life-saving aid to the poor and needy to help alleviate poverty and transform lives for just pennies per day.

To donate to Lynne’s target, go to:

For more information on the Penny Appeal, go to:

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