By Amy Ellerker
Loud music blaring out, excitable cheers, the presence of a dancing badger and 800 lively school children from fourteen primary schools and you’re probably thinking what could this possibly be?
On 7th March Maiden Castle was brought to life with the presence of local primary school students taking part in the Zambian fun run. The run is an annual event held at the Durham University sport complex designed to raise money for Sport in Action Zambia. This charity is a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Lusaka in Zambia, which aims to enrich the lives of young people and promote social messages through sport and physical activity.
Each year the Wallace Group, which includes the universities of Stirling, Northumbria, Loughborough, Bath, Cardiff Metropolitan, St Andrew’s and Durham, send students to Zambia to work in orphanages and compounds teaching netball, football, volleyball and basketball.
In addition, the students also assist with PE lessons in schools and after-school clubs. The primary school students at the run paid an entry fee of £2 with some pupils gaining additional sponsorship to raise money for the organisation.
The money raised from the run will go towards purchasing equipment for the charity, which will then be loaned out to local schools and compounds to improve the quantity and quality of sessions that can be run. Last year £2,227 was raised and this year it is hoped that this amount will be beaten. The event was a huge success with local sixth form sport leaders and University volunteers helping out at the event, bringing together the local community and university students.
For the first time at the event, Purple Radio made a guest appearance; their commentating entertained the many pupils and spectators, while the music created a fun and exciting atmosphere. This year Durham students going to Zambia are Amelia Wilkinson, Ellen Blackwood, James Coupland and John Keary.
A big thank you to everyone who got involved with the event, including the participants, the volunteers and the Team Durham staff members, without whom such a fantastic day wouldn’t have been possible.
Photograph: Natasha Douglas