Raysfield Primary School caretaker will swap Yate for The Gambia in week-long exchange

Dave Denning, caretaker at Raysfield Infants School in Chipping Sodbury, is going to The Gambia next week

Dave Denning, caretaker at Raysfield Infants School in Chipping Sodbury, is going to The Gambia next week

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury

A CARETAKER from Yate is preparing to put down his bunch of keys and pick up a rucksack as he travels to Africa as his school’s ambassador.

Dave Denning, who has worked at Raysfield Infants School in Chipping Sodbury since 2005, is setting off for The Gambia in February.

Mr Denning, 51, will spend a week at Raysfield’s link school in Pallol.

“We had a visit of teachers from The Gambia last February and I hosted one of them, Abdoulie Jallow, and we have stayed friends ever since,” he said. “I thought it will be nice to out and see him and his family especially as he has not long had baby.”

Mr Denning, who is also a school governor, will spend time at the school as well as visiting people and travelling around the Gambia.

He said: “I am really looking forward to it and it is going to be a great experience. I have been to India and Australia before but this is my time to Africa.

“The Gambia is one of the poorest and smallest countries in Africa and when I return I will tell Raysfield students all about it.

“I think it is nice for them to learn about different cultures. As Bono said, there is a world outside your window.”

Under the international Future in our Hands initiative, Raysfield annually raises money to help fund different projects in Pallol.

In 2012 it paid for a lockable library at the school to stop termites eating the books or flood water washing them away.

This year, to raise money for an undecided project, children came to school in brightly coloured clothes for a glad rags for Gambia day on Tuesday.

Head teacher Alison Wood said: “This is helping to keep the link going for the children. It is a big part of their education at Raysfield.

“They are really excited for Mr Denning. We are calling him our ambassador and I am really proud of him.”

Raysfield is planning a further visit to The Gambia next year. Contributions to the Pallol project are welcome at the school office.

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