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Page 3 Raising environmental awarenessPage 6 Camp Cambodia one year old Page 10

‘Best thing I’ve ever done’ Juliette Denny’s experience is typical of the hundreds of school pupils, gappers and professionals who travelled with Camps International in 2011

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lthough it was a spur-of-themoment decision, choosing to go to Kenya on the first Bristol sports expedition (SDX) with Camps International was without doubt the best thing I’ve ever done. From the moment we arrived we were looked after and put at complete ease. We were introduced to the team at Camp Imani, including Mama Mercy, the camp manager, Kittonyi, our chef, and Peter and Cat, our in-country liaisons. They were all lovely and welcoming and straight away encouraged us to go out and meet some of the community, who all greeted us with massive smiles and cries of “Jambo!” We spent our mornings doing work to improve the sports facilities in the area, which are so important as sport is one of the only things that brings the community together, which was plain to see at the Fun Run and Sports Festival that we organised. In our three weeks there we completed a football pitch, two netball pitches, a volleyball pitch, a cricket pitch and a long jump track and pit, all complete with markings and nets where necessary. Lots of the community pitched in to help, including a young local builder Gilbert, who selflessly helped us throughout our entire stay. In the afternoons we ran coaching sessions for the local community, with kids from the local primary and secondary schools working alongside other members

Juliette Denny (second from left) travelled to Kenya with Camps International as part of Umoja, the Bristol Kenya Partnership of the wider community. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious, and they were so eager to learn and listen. There was a moment, just a few days in, when we ended up playing football with some of the locals. The sun was just setting over the mountains in the distance, and, despite the fact that many of the kids were playing barefoot, on a slanting pitch with many divots and areas that changed from

sand to solid without warning, using flipflops as goalposts, everyone was in their element. We were playing simply because we love the game and I will always look back on that as the most incredible and humbling experience of my life. Despite their obvious lack of material possessions, the people seemed much happier than those in the West. Their sense of community and genuine appreciation of

the value of friendship was obvious, and changed my perspective on life as a whole. Although we were there to help and teach them, we ended up learning so much more from them, although they may not have realised it. They taught us not to take for granted the things we do have in life, and that it is people, not possessions, that can truly bring you happiness. Further report, page 8


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Laying solid foundations for the future

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n 2011 we strived to make even more of a positive impact than ever before on the communities, wildlife and environment in the areas we operate, which include Kenya, Tanzania, Ecuador, Cambodia and Borneo. Facilitated by our highest ever volunteer numbers, we have laid some pretty amazing foundations for the future. You only have to glance at the stream of project blogs on www.campsinternational.com to see the creation of some exciting educational facilities for local children and adults. These range from the new kindergarten and marine conservation building on Mantanani Island in Borneo with Arkitrek to the new kitchen and Trust House near Camp Muhaka in Kenya. These projects are only four of over one hundred projects that we currently run and are

With the addition of Rhys Jones and RJ7 Expeditions (www.rjseven.com), we look as ever to the future where no mountain is too high to climb and no river too wide to cross. Look out for news of his forthcoming expedition to Kilimanjaro with the forces charity Pilgrim Bandits which includes five forces amputees. This newspaper can only offer a glimpse of all that we have achieved and all that we are planning to do in the future. If you want to find out more about our expeditions for school pupils, gap year students, families and professionals only possible with the help of our volunteers from around the world. We’ve had a huge variety please do get in touch via our website, www.campsinternational.com or give us a of volunteers this year ranging from schools call on 0844 800 1127 groups from Vietnam to Skegness, families from Nairobi to Surrey and of course our ever Stuart Rees Jones constant international gap year students, all of Founder and CEO, Camps International whom ensure our long term sustainability.

Trip of contrasts and insights for School Trips unforgettable school expedition

This summer Camps International was responsible for over 850 school students going on expeditions to Africa and Asia. Camps International is one of only a handful of expedition companies to have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for Overseas Expeditions. Teachers’ report, page 3

Brian Collins lead a group of students from Winston Churchill School to Africa this summer

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his summer I led an expedition of six students from Winston Churchill School to Kenya. It was an adventure that none of us would ever forget and probably never experience again. When we arrived at Heathrow, we didn’t know what to expect. We bashfully introduced ourselves to the other members of our travelling group of whom we were going to spend the next four weeks with. There were students from Liskeard Community School, Cornwall, Sir John Colfox School, Dorset and Winsford Academy, Cheshire. After a long journey we arrived at our first Camp which was situated south of Mombasa in the holiday resort of Diani where we spent eight days. Diani was paradise. Our Camp was situated approximately 100 metres from the beach. Our main objective was to complete our PADI Open Water Scuba diving course. Despite the fact we had the opportunity of swimming with fish in the Indian Ocean, the course was actually quite demanding but the students were fantastic in their persistence and all obtained their PADI certificate. We also took part in a little bit of community work while at Diani which included a beach clean up where our students, along with students from a local school, spent a number of hours cleaning a couple of local beaches.  We departed Diani and made our way to our second Camp which was Kaya. Although there was a slightly sombre mood leaving the paradise of Diani, the students were quite excited about the prospect of getting down to some work and fulfilling the experience they had come so far and waited so long for. Kaya was very different to Diani. The camp was very secluded, located deep in the jungle. The experience at Kaya was a real taste of life in rural Africa, including having to travel 2km to fetch the water for all uses.

Gap Years

Camps International is the only gap company that owns and manages its own camps. Based in South America, Asia - including Cambodia and Borneo - and Africa, Camps International gives gap year students the opportunity to work on community projects and earn 70 UCAS points through ASDAN and the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness. Gap year case studies, page 5

The school During our five day stay, we helped finish off the construction of a new community centre which included thatching the roof – this involved gathering leaves from coconut trees and knitting them together to form adequate roof cover. We also cleared some of the forest which involved getting down and dirty with some machete work. Some students paid a visit to the local medical centre where they were truly astonished at how poor the facilities were. A very touching moment occurred when one of the Winston Churchill students paid for malaria treatment for a young boy no older than a few years.  After five days at Kaya we had a two hour hike to Camp three, Makongeni. We were glad to get to free flowing water and electricity here -  Makongeni was quite a contrast to Kaya. It had a much bigger community and was also more developed (they even had an internet café). Again we took part in community work which involved brick laying and desk making for the local school. We also helped build a new house for a family of 10 whose house had recently been burnt down. This was a huge success and the students were extremely determined to finish the work before it was time to leave. It also gave them an insight to what life is like in a typical rural African household - a large mud house that is no bigger than your average sized living room in the UK. After the completion of the mud house, there was a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment among the students that would last for a long time after.  After Makongeni, we made the long journey north towards the wondrous Tsavo which was

Sports Expeditions Students from Winston Churchill School travelled to Kenya this summer to be our last camp. There is only one word to describe Tsavo - magnificent. When we took a left turn off the Mombasa highway within a few moments we were spotting animals we had only ever seen in the zoo. Despite being situated in the middle of the African wildlife play ground, we had a large amount of work to do. This included digging a water trench for a new water area for animals near the Camp. We also paid a visit to the local school where we helped build a new toilet area and helped making new building bricks. This gave us an insight into what life was like in this school - which had a population of approximately 720 pupils, 350 or so desks and a total of six teaching staff. Imagine the class dynamics in those classrooms just with the sheer number of students. However what was quite striking was how willing and attentive all the students were. On one of our last days we did a safari trip through Tsavo East Wildlife Park where we saw everything from lions to elephants and giraffes to zebras. It was a truly outstanding way to finish of the whole expedition. 

Students from several universities and colleges - including the University of Bristol, UWE, Filton College and Bournemouth University - travelled to Africa this year to work with the local communities to improve sporting facilities and helped with training of coaches to leave a lasting legacy. Bristol students make a difference, page 8

Professional Programmes Camps International runs programmes for adults, including healthcare outreach programmes to Kenya and Cambodia, an Arkitrek expedition for designers and architects to Borneo, and family trips to their camps in Kenya where all members can work together and have a holiday with a difference. Family trip, page 9

Camps International

Camps International owns and manages several Camps in Kenya, Tanzania, Borneo, Cambodia and Ecuador. Each Camp is a hub for a wide range of sustainable volunteer projects and adventure activities. To find out more, please call: 0844 800 1127 www.campsinternational.com www.facebook.com/campsinternational


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Schools

Teachers learn lessons too The TEACHERS

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ebuilding schools, digging ditches for freshwater pipes to a rural village, cementing the floor for a community kitchen, plastering toilet walls, shelling peanuts for a women’s project. Hardly sounds like typical summer holiday activities, but these are just some of the tasks that over 850 school students and their teachers from the UK volunteered to do this summer in Africa and Asia. The expeditions were all organised by Camps International, one of only a handful of companies to have been awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge for Overseas Expeditions. Nina Lister led an expedition of students and three teachers from The Burgate School and Sixth Form to Borneo this summer. She says that her 23 students learnt some important lessons over the four weeks: “They all worked together and so really learnt the importance of teamwork. They also learnt to respect the environment and the importance of conservation as well as the impact one person can have on a small area. I think overall they gained a great deal of confidence in themselves to overcome obstacles whether that be having to wear the same clothes for several days or finding a belief in themselves to complete a Scuba diving qualification.” According to Laura Watt, her students from Southfield School for Girls not only gained an immense array of practical skills, but more importantly they developed a new perspective on life: “It was wonderful to watch them flourish as their confidence grew. By the end of the expedition they truly realised that there is nothing that can’t be achieved so long as you set your mind to it. Boundaries were redefined as they learnt just how far they could actually push themselves. They learnt to appreciate everything they have and not to take things for granted.” She says that many of her students commented on how happy people in the rural communities seemed despite often having very little “So I think that they realised that it’s not what you have that makes you happy - the material things but what you actually do. As a group they donated most of their personal items that they took with them, pretty much nothing came back to the UK! In the long run however, they have certainly matured as individuals and become well-rounded as a person. I am very proud of them.” Julie Lax, a cover supervisor who went with 30 students and three teachers from Ringwood School to Kenya this summer was impressed that her pupils survived without the trappings of modern teenagers: “They learnt the importance of being able to converse with a variety of people and how to survive without high-tech gadgetry. Both skills are a dying art for today’s teenagers who attach so much importance on their phones/texting/social networking & music to the exclusion of many other interactive and social skills.” Students can also gain the Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) Level 3 for their expedition through ASDAN.

Three teachers report on how it wasn’t just their students who benefited from a school trip abroad this summer with Camps International

School students learn the importance of team work when they travel on a school expedition qualification through Camps International. This can give them 70 UCAS points, Their teacher Laura says she fully believes in which is the equivalent of an A-grade at the merit of the qualification for her pupils: AS-level. The fact that these points can “They learnt far more about life in one month be used with UCAS applications certainly in Africa than they could ever have been taught created controversy with headlines such as in the classroom. As a teacher I sometimes feel “How whale watching can help you get to that too much emphasis is placed on how well university” in the Daily Mail and Professor students can remember Alison Wolf commenting and recall facts in an in The Times that “It “The pupils learnt far examination which is a poor underlines the craziness indicator of their ability. of trying to put points on more about life in one If we credit this skill why everything that moves.” can’t what they have done However, Nina says month in Africa than they in Africa be recognised and that her students did given credit for?” deserve the qualification could ever have been Going abroad with a and credit for the work that they did: “The amount taught in the classroom” bunch of pupils may not be every teacher’s taste for of challenges that the Laura Watt, science teacher to a way to spend a summer students have to overcome holiday, but Laura claims to complete the expedition there are great benefits to be gained for is huge. They firstly have to commit almost student relations: “I feel that it has two years of their life to fundraising whilst strengthened my relationship with them juggling academic commitments at work or through creating a much deeper understanding. college which is no mean feat. This in itself And vice versa, I think my students see me as is a massive undertaking. They then have to a person rather than just someone standing at demonstrate skills and offer documentation to prove what they have done. Given that it is the front of a classroom!” Beth Gardener, the Chief Executive of the harder for students to get places in university Council of Learning Outside the Classroom, why shouldn’t they be rewarded with UCAS says that organising an expedition can be a points for something that they have shown big part of a teacher’s continuing professional commitment and dedication to?” development: “Teachers tell us that sharing Half of the students from Southfield School experiences beyond the classroom walls can for Girls are currently completing the CoPE

dramatically improve their relationships with pupils and help them to build lasting bridges with those they find difficult to reach inside the classroom. Of course it also supports Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and helps promote the school, but most compellingly, LOtC can reinvigorate their enthusiasm for teaching and remind them what they are doing it for.” Laura backs up this sentiment: “It has improved my confidence in my abilities as a teacher and also reminded me of exactly why I became a teacher in the first place!”

This article first appeared in the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom newsletter www.lotc.org.uk


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Amazing journey to Borneo Bailey Freeland-Jones travelled with Camps this summer and his mother Jayne Young now works for us

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here is nothing better to cheer you up when you are staring out of the classroom window at melting snow, than a mate mentioning that there is going to be a presentation about going to Borneo later. I didn’t even know where Borneo was, but it sounded better than staring at grey slush through the window. I knew after the presentation that I just had to go to Borneo. I wasn’t sure that my parents were going to let me go, because of the money and all, but the team at Camps International talked about some great fundraising ideas. I was so chuffed to realise that it seemed really possible – even without my parents paying very much. The Borneo trip appealed to me partially because of the diving. Once on holiday, I used diving equipment in a swimming pool, but there wasn’t much to see. Quite dull in comparison to the things I saw in the gorgeous blue waters of Borneo. I was lucky enough to already have a job in a surf shop in Bournemouth and at weekends during the 18 months before my Borneo trip I worked to raise funds. The entire Borneo group at Queen Elizabeth’s school in Wimborne found ways to raise money. We did sponsored bag packing at local supermarkets and we did a sponsored walk which took us eight hours to finish. For almost two years, I abandoned Christmas and birthday presents and asked my family to send me money instead to help pay for my trip. Looking back, the preparation, including the fundraising, was as big a part of the experience as the trip itself. I remember sitting in my

Hammer time: Bailey gets down to work on his expedition to Borneo bedroom, looking at the trekking bag that my grandmother had helped me to buy, wondering how it would all fit, or if I would be able to lift it. I have learned so much since then. Rachel and the guys at Camps gave me all the support I needed to get it all together. On 19 July we gathered in the car park at school, waiting for the coach. I remember feeling excited but nervous. I was mainly nervous that my Mum would make a fool out of me by crying – but she managed to keep it together. I guess she knew I was in good hands We travelled to Batu Puteh where the expedition really started.

We lived in a jungle environment and our first job was to find two trees each and set up our own hammocks to sleep in. My Mum has trouble getting me to make my bed in the morning. She would be fine if she let me sleep in a hammock outside – it was so much fun. In the same way, getting up for school can sometimes be a problem, but being woken up by our guide to see the sun rise over the river was absolutely no problem That day, we got down to real business. Mowing the lawn at home for my Dad can seem a meaningless chore, but the reforestation work we did alongside the local community

suddenly made sense. We worked in the local paddy fields, planting rice and planting young trees in the forest. The next day, we went on a trip to Sandakan city where we learned about the Sandakan-Ranau death marches where the Japanese marched thousands of Australian prisoners of war across Borneo and only six survived. It was like bringing a history text book to life for me. We left Batu Puteh behind and boarded a set of speed boats to travel to Mantanani island. When the island came into view, I realised what paradise looked like – small – white beaches and clear blue water. For the first time in my life, I slept

with the sound of water lapping on the sand because the beach was just 50 yards from our tent. We met our dive instructors that day and had fun familiarising ourselves with the equipment we would be using. This was always going to be a highlight for me. Memories of my time using dive equipment in a swimming pool were replaced with visions of the entire cast of Finding Nemo and a rare sighting of a crocodile fish. On Mantanani, we also worked on marine conservation projects where we helped to clear the beaches of rubbish and learned how litter in a marine environment affects world around us. We saw how seemingly innocent items such as flip-flops and bottles or cans can destroy marine wildlife and kill coral reefs. The final part of our expedition took us to Bongkud where we continued to support the local community by helping to dig the foundation for a single mother’s centre. There were plenty of mud fights along the way. I still wished we could have stayed in Bongkud longer because there was so much more to be done. Thankfully, Camps International is there 365 days a year to continue the work we participated in. Before I knew it I was facing the long journey home. I knew that I would have a great time in Borneo, but I never knew what an impact the things I saw and felt would have on me. I now view the world differently. Everything I see and hear in England is now compared with the thoughts and views of the people I met in Borneo. Mum did cry when I got home – what is that all about? From that snowy day, through my fund raising to the amazing journey I have been on, I continually thank the powers that be for giving me the chance to do what I have done. Bailey Freeland-Jones

‘I am proud to tell people where I work’

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s a parent, I have travelled the road from the first meeting with Camps International, through fundraising, numerous rounds of paperwork, kit list preparation and eventually to departure. Bailey’s return home has precipitated thousands of photographs and anecdotes. I don’t think he stopped talking for the first three days after he arrived back from Borneo. During the last six months of Bailey’s fund raising efforts, I was made redundant from my high profile job as an Internal Communications Manager. I have all the degrees and plenty of experience, but the job market defeated me for a very long time and I was unable to find a position. During that time I had time to revaluate my priorities and realised that I was tired of working in positions where I was just a number and

The PARENT was only making a difference to the share holders of a faceless company. I decided that I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to work somewhere that valued my skills, in a stimulating environment doing something that meant something and helped to improve lives. Whilst Bailey was away in Borneo, I enjoyed reassuring banter and reassurances from Camps staff through the Facebook coverage of the 2011 Camps International expeditions (www.facebook.com/campsinernational). Whilst doing this, I started to think. I thought about what Camps International do,

not only for travelling students, but for the communities they support. I did not know where the company was based, but when I researched them, I discovered they were a mere 10 minutes from my house. I dropped them a quick email expressing my admiration as a parent for the company and attached my CV for good measure. On the Friday when Bailey returned, I was just about to leave the house to pick him up from school after his trip, when I got a call from Joss at Camps International asking me in for an interview. What an amazing coincidence. Bailey was so excited when I told him I might be working for the company. So, here I am now, one of the newest members of the staff at Camps. I work as part of the team who go into schools and partner with teachers and parents to make these amazing

journeys possible. I speak to teachers every day and can honestly reassure them of the sensibility of their decision to work with us. I can provide valuable reassurance from the perspective of not only a committed member of staff, but also as a parent who is a real fan. The culture at Camps is amazing. I have never met such a genuine group of people who really care about what they do, and each other. For the first time ever, I look forward to coming to work and hate to go home at night. I am proud to tell people where I work. Bailey too is proud of his Mum (although he may not admit it). I heard him the other day saying to one of his friends ‘Guess where my Mum is working now?’ I had to stop myself before I rushed in and started to tell them all about Camps!  Jayne Young


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gap years

Despite reports to the contrary, the Gap Year is very much alive and kicking as these insights prove

Volunteering boosted university application Lucy Hardingham at work in a health clinic in Kenya and, inset, on page three of The Times on 4 August 2011

Travel to make a difference

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ucy Hardingham returned in the summer of 2011 from her minigap year in Kenya where she worked on health and building projects and went on safari. She spoke to Joanna Sugden from The Times in August about her trip and its value for money: “It was definitely worth it and you see where all the money goes,” said Ms Hardingham, 20, from Solihull, who has now started a nursing degree at Birmingham City University.

“I spent the mornings in the local hospital weighing babies and giving them inoculations against polio. It was very basic. Being there made me realise how lucky we are and less naive about other countries. “We helped at a ‘jigger’ clinic to remove maggot-like creatures from children’s feet. Just knowing that you have actually helped is amazing.” In the afternoons Ms Hardingham, who did not need to boost her UCAS points with the trip, helped the team building a toilet for a

village near Mombasa. “I only got back at the end of July and it was weird being in a room without holes in the walls and mosquitos flying around. “We stayed in little mud huts but it was very safe because we had 24-hour security,” she said. During the trip the team went on safari, but Ms Hardingham said: “It’s definitely more work than pleasure.” She is hoping to raise money to send to the villagers, “now I know where the money is going and that it will get there”.

Trip was a great confidence builder Camilla Kidd, 19, went to Camp Muhaka in Kenya on a volunteer programme with Camps International from October to November 2010 at the start of her gap year. After a trip to Southeast Asia, she started university in 2011. “The thing I most enjoyed on the expedition was seeing the projects come together. We were lucky enough to help put the finishing touches to the library at Muhaka primary school and it was a sense of achievement to see it after the two months were up and how different it looked since we had arrived. “As well as working with the construction of the school, I also travelled around with Camps International and worked on other projects, including teaching, conservation in the jungle and working in an orphanage. “To raise the money for the trip I had a

weekend job, and held coffee mornings and a curry night, which raised a total of £900. I also got in touch with the English-Speaking Union, and after a meeting with them to explain what I would be doing they said they were willing to donate me £500 in exchange for a written report when I returned. “My experience in Africa is definitely a good conversation starter and all my friends from home have noticed how I have grown as a person. When I applied to university they all seemed really impressed by it, also when applying for jobs it helped me as the programme was an excellent example of proving my independence, my good communication skills, my commitment and it was also a great confidence builder.” To receive a copy of Camps International’s Guide to Fundraising, call 0844 800 1127

Lily Vo, 19, travelled with Camps International to Camp Kenya in March 2011. She completed her ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) at Level 3, gaining an extra 70 UCAS points which took her total points to 320. Her University of the West of England offer was for 300 points and she started her course there in September 2011. She raised the funds herself to go volunteering with Camps International. “My volunteering experience with Camps International was very useful for me in producing a portfolio and independent work to pass my CoPE Level 3. This certificate has enhanced my future career path a lot as it helped me gain the points needed to get into UWE which I am so proud of. It also shows my future employers that I am very independent and hard-working. It will enhance my chances of being hired as nowadays employers aren’t just looking for a possible employee with a degree; you need to have much more than that. Having these skills at Level 3 will indicate to my future work place that I am very capable of working effectively with other people as well as independently and can develop my experience. “I heard about the ASDAN qualification whilst studying at The Coventry Blue Coat Church of England Secondary School and Sixth Form and researched more about it at the start of my Gap Year. The CoPE certificate is based on six wider skills. “I made some friends for life with the others on the one month programme; it was all these people that made my trip so enjoyable. Without getting to know the local people and without having friends within my group I wouldn’t have worked as hard on my trip. It was these people that I met that drove me to work hard, dig hard, build hard and to see the completed results at the end of the month.”


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CONSERVATION

Flip-flop art raises pollution awareness Kennedy Ole Kariuki reports on how artists, conservationists and volunteers worked together to highlight the problems of marine waste

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lip-flop art is spreading fast along the 500-kilometre Western Indian Ocean coast of Kenya thanks to the massive publicity created by local artists, conservationists and volunteers working together. At Camp Kenya about 289 students from schools from abroad and about 143 students from local schools have been involved with this eco-art. Their efforts have helped to clear Diani beach of non-bio-degradable waste and also saved turtles and other marine life. The Kenyan Indian Ocean waters are home to five of the world’s eight species of turtles which include the Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Olive Ridley turtle, Leatherback turtle and the Loggerhead turtle, not to mention seven of the world’s nine dolphin species including Bottlenose dolphins, Common dolphins, Spinners & Spinner’s dolphins, Humpback dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Spotted dolphins and the Rough toothed dolphins. All of these marine species are classified as either endangered or critically endangered and are threatened by development, poaching of turtle meat and eggs, by-catch by local fishermen and semi-industrial fisheries and marine pollution, which are reasons enough to want to clear the beach from all the plastic and non-biodegradable waste, some of which takes up to 600 years to degrade into the natural environment. This is also the vision and mission of most conservation organizations along the coast, including Camp Kenya, Watamu Turtle Watch and the WWF. Over the summer the crew at Camp Kenya has been getting students from schools abroad and local schools to take part in beach surveys to collect data on the marine life of the ecosystem and also to work on conservation activities which include beach clean-ups to collect the waste plastics and other non-biodegradables lying on Diani beach. The flip-flops collected have then been dexterously joined to each other to make large sheets that have been used to make up the turtle and also a whale-shark structure that’s still being made. We hope that the information has been passed far and wide along the seaboard to make people aware of the dangers of pollution and that it may also help to create an alternative means of living in areas with high levels of unemployment.

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CONSERVATION


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SPORTS EXPEDITION

Giving communities a sporting chance Vanessa Pople reports on what the Bristol sports expedition achieved in Kenya and how it affected her

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lthough adamant for many years that Law was what I wanted to do, by the middle of my second year I’d hit the student mid-life crisis whereby I had absolutely no idea where I really wanted to go career wise. Juggling the concept of a career in sport, teaching or in the legal sector, the sports expedition (SDX) came at what was the perfect time for me. I wanted to get a lot out of the experience. I wanted to discover what kind of character I really was and what better way then to take yourself out of your comfort zone... even if it does mean flying 10 plus hours around the world! I wanted to see how I’d cope/operate in a group dynamic over such a long period of time and I was also hoping that the expedition would give me some indication as to whether a general career in teaching or even more specifically coaching sport would be something I’d enjoy. Within our SDX team, made up of students from the University of Bristol, UWE and Filton College, we had a range of highly skilled players in particular sports and/or coaches/referees which meant we had a solid foundation regarding all the ins and outs of the sports we were hoping to teach. As the only girl within the team to have consistently played netball since a young age and to still be playing it at a high level to this date I indirectly took on the role of head coach. This meant that although the other team members who coached netball also planned drills/games etc they would often question me for clarification on rules and rack my brains for new drills/developments. When we first met the primary school children their ability to play netball was really good! It was obvious that they had the basics of throwing/catching so our first port of call was to give them some structure with positions and the names of passes etc. Aside from theory I also did practical coaching in which I took small groups of individuals and put them through a series of drills to benefit their chosen positions/team work. It soon became apparent that all the girls wanted to do was play games, I had to explain to them the benefit and reasoning behind doing drills but they soon understood and as long as I kept the drills fun they didn’t seem to mind. One experience I am particularly proud of is that I was asked by our group leader whether I would be interested in coaching teachers regarding netball so that when we left they would have resources/drills to maintain our hard work. As my focus throughout the trip revolved around long-term assistance I knew that this would be the best possible way to have an influence on the way netball is taught... and hopefully bring UK coaching standards to Kenya permanently. The games master from the local secondary school showed such appreciation and enthusiasm for anything we were bringing to the table to benefit the students at his school. He arrived at a coaching session I was holding with the senior students which I presumed he would merely observe – without me even saying a word however he was running around with the girls during the warm up and intercepting balls during the drills. It was amazing to see and it felt great to see someone putting everything they have into something you are voluntarily assisting with. Although our work revolved predominantly around

As well as working on community projects, coaching local school children was a big part of the Bristol sports expedition the schools the facilities that we spent our mornings building/developing are used at large by the community. As such the community volleyball team now have an official court to play upon with posts and markings, and the community netball team have two official courts to use both with markings and concreted metal goal posts. In addition to this we also built long jump/ triple jump facilities, a cricket pitch and completely re-designed and levelled the football pitch, now with official markings and concreted metal goalposts. We also put on a fun run which saw adults

and children alike participate in what was approximately a 4km run, (Kenyans really are unbelievably fast runners!) and a Sports Festival on what was our last few days in Imani. The sports festival was a huge success, Over 400 people either took part or spectated including school and community teams such as Black Lions who went on to win the football tournament. At the end of the day we held an awards ceremony and gave out prizes to the winning teams to encourage future participation. When we first arrived at Camp Imani our Camp Kenya leader had drawn us up

Strike a pose: students from the University of Bristol, UWE and Filton College

a list of things that we could undertake for project work, this was as she said a BIG list and not one that she expected us to complete. Our team and the community around us were so dedicated and committed to the project that after only one week of being there we’d nearly checked everything off. Adults and children alike from the local area assisted us with digging/collecting rocks etc without us even having to ask, they were so enthusiastic about the work we were doing over there that they wanted to help in whatever way they could. The children and adults out there have nothing in comparison to what we have in the UK and yet they have more compassion, spirit, drive and determination than I’ve ever seen from people in the UK. It’s made me realise that nobody needs Facebook, designer clothes or the latest touch screen technology. What makes life worthwhile for the people out there was having others to share time/ experiences with, strangers treated you like life long friends and several generations of one family enjoying living under the same roof. The difference between our individualist society and their collective society was outstanding. Africa has knocked more than just a little bit of sense into me. I now appreciate and understand just how fortunate I really am to have materialistic items but also more importantly the opportunities that living and studying in the UK offers which I should be grabbing with both hands, as I know the Kenyan students would if they had the chance.  We achieved a lot over there in such a short space of time and I feel incredibly proud to have been part of the first Bristol SDX group. Following the expedition I’m now considering a future career in Sport.


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LIFE BY CAMPS INTERNATIONAL

Learning to work together Andrew Crossley took his family from Surrey to Africa to teach them about the wider world and to help them appreciate what they have in the UK

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n 2009, my family (Cindy, Ben, 9 and Zac, 6) and I lived in Surrey, England. It’s a prosperous and pleasant place to live, and our boys could easily grow up very comfortably, without any real appreciation of what they have and how lucky they are to have been born into such a position. Cindy and I resolved to find a way to remove the blinkers from their eyes, and after much trawling across dozens of websites, discovered Camps International. It was the only volunteering organisation we found which would allow us to combine a holiday with close contact with another community, and which would cater for young children. Kenya was the obvious place to choose – few mosquitoes, great safaris, no jet lag… Despite the fact that Camp Tsavo is inside a game sanctuary with hundreds of elephants as well as the typical range of other beasts and birds, we always felt safe – there’s an electric fence around the camp and guards patrolling all day and night, just in case. There’s also the camp mongoose on patrol, and a wild genet (like a shy cat) living up in the rafters inside the main lodge. On the first afternoon we did a short game drive inside Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary (the reserve in which the camp is situated), which the kids found fantastically exciting, particularly Zac, our James Herriot wannabe. However, in the morning of the second day, we arrived at Sasenyi Primary School and were given a tour by Mr Fred, the deputy head. I suppose it’s a tour he does frequently, but it gave us a terrific insight into just how difficult life is for the families and children in the village, and also a flavour of how committed you have to be in order to be a teacher in such a place. Where to start…? The village is really dirt poor. Huts are made of wood, mud and cowpat; there is no electricity, sanitation, healthcare, water… all things we take for granted. The soil is very poor, and the climate is semi-arid; at the time we were there, Kenya was deep into a long drought, so there was typically no food or water available at home. Water comes either from a borehole (not working since the pump breaks down regularly) or from a mains pipe 20km away. From the kids’ perspective, often the only meal of the day would be lunch, cooked and delivered at the school. It’s an excellent incentive to show up for class each day. Their day starts with a walk to school (up to 7km) through the ranch scrubland, avoiding elephants and any other predators on the way. Nevertheless, they turn up in clean school uniform, and the discipline in the classroom is something a British teacher would crave – all children were quiet and attentive.

Life by Camps International Camps International is not just for school pupils and gap year students. We also run specialist breaks for professionals and families. These are grouped together as Life by Camps International. Healthcare Outreach This programme will help improve the standard of healthcare for communities in Kenya and Cambodia and give medical professionals from the UK the chance to experience caring for people in a new and challenging environment. Arkitrek One month programme to research, design and construct a community-based building on the beautiful Mantanani Island, which lies to the north west of Sabah, Borneo.

Family Volunteering Our Family Life trip is especially designed for families that want to share unique and rewarding experiences that would not be possible on a conventional holiday. This trip is a great way to experience new cultures and see a part of the world that children may never learn about at school. Life Expedition 2012 In September 2012, to celebrate 10 years of Camps International, a unique team of people from all walks of life will travel to the Taru desert in Kenya and spend two weeks working and living together alongside the local community to transform the infrastructure of their village. For further details, call 0844 800 1127 www.campsinternational.com/life

It’s a happy place, with the sorts of playtime noise you would expect from 650 children playing football, practising music, running and shouting. One really couldn’t avoid thinking that we had a responsibility to help. Conveniently then, shovels and pickaxes were put in our hands and we were asked to dig channels to divert the rainwater away from the buildings. The school buildings were, in places, literally falling down due to erosion from the heavy rains which come around each year and thus, Camp Kenya wanted to make this a priority. We started digging, all of us, even Zac. As it happened, Simon, the other dad in our party, couldn’t dig because he had a broken collarbone and spent the time asking questions of Mr Fred. Simon discovered that the school’s priority was to create more classrooms. In fact, there were two classrooms which were half built already (foundations and walls), by another charity, but had been left unfinished for four years when they ran out of money. After a short investigation, we found that a contribution from each of the camp families would cover the cost of the materials as well as the labour to finish the job, and that the local fundi (builder) could show up the next morning with four labourers. I think to the amazement of the teachers, Simon and I got into the truck to go into Voi, the nearest large town, visited a couple of hardware stores to get the best prices, and paid for our supplies in cash (lots and lots of small denomination notes!). We came back to the school the next day to find that our truckload of materials had indeed arrived and was already being prepared for use. Try asking a British builder to start working on an extension for your house tomorrow morning, and see what he says… Building the classrooms was a real community effort. We and the gap year students pitched in with the builders, clearing the years of rubble, dust and weeds from the existing shell of a building. The children of the school spent hours filling wheelbarrows with sand and dragging them up the hill to where the sand was needed; others painted the wooden rafters with a kind of protective creosote. We mixed the concrete, painted the newly plastered walls and cleared what we could. The fundis carried on from early in the morning until dusk; progress was remarkably rapid. By the time we left, a week or so later, the classrooms were all but finished; the roof was 80 per cent complete, window and door frames in place, walls were plastered and painted. While the fundis stayed through each working day, we were strictly part-timers. We mixed up our classroom building with safari drives and visits to another Camp Kenya-supported project in which a women’s cooperative (Imani Women’s Group) was creating sustainable businesses, growing crops (exotic mushrooms and aloe vera) and building and running a community centre. We left Sasenyi on a real high – the local folks were clearly most grateful for the contribution we had made, and we received the full VIP send-off, with music and dancing and speeches from the headmaster. Our families also got a huge amount out of the time we spent there: our boys played football with the Kenyan kids, played hide and seek, built dens out of sticks and branches, took pictures of each other and ran round the village together. It was more, much more than we could have hoped for at the outset.


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Camps International

camps NEWS

Cambodia is famed for its impressive collection of ancient temples, the most famous of which is Angkor Wat

Camp Cambodia celebrates one year Anth Hartley (right) reports on the preparation and continuing work needed to set up a new location

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amp Cambodia is one year old this November, the date that our very first volunteers arrived in Siem Reap to be our pioneer boots on the ground. And that same school is returning at the end of November with a new group... it’s a nice way to celebrate what has been an amazing year. But the story of Camp Beng Mealea, an hour and a half outside of Siem Reap, goes back a little way further. I first came to Cambodia in September of 2009 with my colleague Amy for some initial research into the needs of local communities and the best way to begin our operations. Then, as it was in September 2011, Siem Reap was underwater. We soon found out this was the key to the needs of the locals. In the dry season there can be too little, rivers run dry and crops are ruined. In the wet season there can be too much, the rivers burst their banks and crops are ruined. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. But the locals here are so resilient and

Cambodia used to it they barely bat an eyelid. There is one man in the old market who beckons people into his flooded shop wearing a snorkel and mask whenever the river breaks. “If I’m willing to continue selling, Mr Tourist, why not wade over here to continue buying?” I’m thinking of getting him some flippers for the next wet season to complete the look. Getting on the ground and finding out how a country works before the Camp is built is massively important and helps shape the future Camp and projects. Standing knee deep in water discussing what is an extremely alien concept knowing that the old village chief standing next to you more than likely thinks you are mad, makes you understand that starting from scratch isn’t easy. Whether it’s the relatively tedious things like discovering the intricacies of new

business law in developing nations and arguing about tax; or the more fun things like discussing cultural differences with local communities while sat around a camp fire, the bit before the volunteers arrive is just as vital as the bits after. There are certain sacrifices that have to be made during this period... mainly on behalf of your stomach. Visiting various communities has led me to sampling frog, snake, bee larvae, spider, grasshopper, chicken feet and – accidentally – dog. There was also the occasion

I was sat around a longhouse with 15 members of the local community discussing projects when I took a huge swig of what I thought was water from a plastic bottle only to discover it was super strength locally made rice wine, which I was now unable to spit out for fear of offending my hosts. Certain other hits to the pride also have to be taken whilst winning the trust of communities. Karaoke in front of the entire village including government ministers springs to mind, as does generally being a foot taller than everyone you meet and struggling to fit into houses, onto chairs and in the back of ox-carts none of which were made for people who are six feet three inches tall. Toilets and poo in general are never far away from conversation; whether it’s composting toilets, biogas digesters, sitting toilets, squatting toilets, long drops, short drops and usage charts to measure intake. All these things have to be considered before volunteers even sets foot in the camp. But it’s all worth it... once the volunteers arrive, projects start and smiles appear, you forget about everything else. OK, perhaps not the dog. So Happy Birthday Camp Cambodia; a two year journey to a one year birthday.

Leading the way for sustainable tourism to become the norm

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ver the course of two months we hosted about 650 students from the UK in Kenya and Tanzania who spent a month in country working hard and playing hard. Reflecting on the summer, I picture scenes of 30-40 pairs of hands digging away under the baking sun as they eagerly tried to complete their target on a trench in yet another neglected primary school on the periphery of Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. I remembered another group who sang through the entire six days of laying blocks for a classroom in a little primary school tucked away on the South Coast and I smiled thinking about the team who refused to stop working until they finished breaking the old concrete of a massive water tank for cattle

Dipesh Pabari reflects on this summer’s visitors to Africa that was to be restored for elephants on Rukinga Ranch. This was my second full-blown season with Camps International. With the primary volunteers being under 18-year-old secondary school students from the UK, one is immediately inclined to wonder how you would convince a teenager who has just completed school to spend their first month of freedom taking bucket baths and digging holes in the African outback. And equally important, is the enigma that 95 per cent of these students actually fundraise and work odd jobs for over a year to save up and come out for these trips. This is not mummy and daddy paying to get rid of little Johnny for

the summer. This is someone who believes that this is the right thing to do: a young mind who chooses to spend a month working on various projects that they may or may not see to completion on a continent that they have never set foot on.

Kenya Expeditions such as the ones Camps International offer are part of a growing trend across the globe. Like any other trend, the gap industry has not been spared from the critical gaze of the media, which keeps a tab on just how these expeditions are

packaged. It’s a necessary evil that keep its eye on the profit moguls for like anything else that operates in regions like Kenya, it is so easy to turn pictures of swollen bellies and fly infested children or elephants grazing peacefully on the savanna landscape into profit. As a Kenyan, I loathe what Africa has become in the western eyes (more so because we allowed it to happen) and thus approached entry into the responsible travel industry very cautiously. Having worked in the not-forprofit sector for the past 15 years, words like “sustainable”, “eco”, “responsible”, “community” had long since become a cryptic crossword divorced from the reality that they are used to describe.

Most people who are not in an NGO are very skeptical about this do-good industry but that is another discussion. Suffice to say, that from where I am sitting now in a company that employs over 60 people in Africa (and over 150 worldwide) and spends millions of shillings building schools, creating income generating activities for various local youth groups and women’s groups, repairs water tanks for elephants, builds new homes for widows and the elderly, plants thousands of trees and still manages to make some profit – I would like to think that those countless workshops and conferences that led to trends like “responsible travel” and “sustainable tourism” have actually played their part in creating what I hope one day will be the norm and not the exception.


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camps news

Brave new world in Ecuador Damian Scott-Masson is immersed in local culture as he sets up Camps International’s latest destination

ecuador

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A stall in Otavalo market in Ecuador. Camps International is opening in the South American country in 2012

RJ7 leading Pilgrim Bandits to Kilimanjaro THE HERALD MonDAy 10.10.2011

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Watchdog warning over radiation risk to children

MoD faces fresh clean-up call Rob EdWaRds

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amps International’s sister company RJ7 is leading an expedition of injured servicemen to conquer Kilimanjaro for forces charity Pilgrim Bandits. Accompanying the expedition, which will include five forces amputees, will be Pilgrim Bandit’s patron and Dragon’s Den star, Duncan Bannatyne. The expedition will be led by Rhys Jones, Managing Director of RJ7. Rhys became a World Record holder in 2006 on his 20th birthday by becoming the youngest person to climb the highest mountain on each continent, known as the Seven Summits Challenge. Rhys said: “I’m extremely excited to be leading and overseeing this unique team on Kilimanjaro, for what will be my seventh ascent of the mountain. I’m sure we can provide an unforgettable experience for all of the participants for the Pilgrim Bandits expedition which I am proud to be leading - I’ve no doubt this will be a challenging undertaking, not least of all for the amputees, but for us all. I’m confident though, that with our excellent infrastructure and local guides, it will be a safe and ultimately successful trek.”

tests have shown more of the radioactive particles are likely YOUNG children exposed to to dissolve and stay inside the radiation from old military body than previously thought. planes at a popular Scottish Sepa is upping its pressure on coastal town face a significant the Ministry of Defence (MoD) risk of getting cancer later in life, to take responsibility for the according to a new study by Scot- pollution. That means finding land’s environment watchdog. out exactly where the particles The Scottish environment are coming from, and paying for Protection Agency (Sepa) has them to be cleaned up. This weekend, Sepa has been warned that babies or toddlers who accidentally swallow one of backed by a former senior MoD the tiny “hot particles” that keep safety official, who accused the polluting the foreshore near a ministry of “prevarication”. Fred Dawson, who worked for yacht club at Dalgety Bay in Fife, could get radiation doses the MoD for 31 years before he hundreds of times higher than retired as head of the radiation the maximum permitted from protection policy team in 2009, said public agencies had been nuclear reactors. earlier studies have under- playing a game of “pass the estimated health hazards from parcel” with the Dalgety Bay pollution. the Sepa warned. New THEpollution, HERALD MonDAy 10.10.2011

The health risk was “most worrying”, and action to tackle the problem at its source should have been taken when it was first discovered more than 20 years ago, Dawson argued. he said: “The MoD should take immediate responsibility for the contamination and fund all work necessary to make Dalgety Bay beach safe.” Dalgety Bay was the site of the old Donibristle military airfield, where many aircraft were dismantled after the end of the Second World War. Dials in the planes were coated with luminous radioactive radium so they could be read at night. The dials were removed and incinerated in a “bash, burn and bury” policy, along with other waste. The ash and clinker was used as landfill to reclaim part of the headland next to the bay. Radioactive contamination in the area was found accidentally

LOCATION

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Rosyth

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be friendly, open, charming and helpful. Try and change lanes while driving and you’d think the devil himself was in the car next to you. In a country where people will placidly wait 30 minutes to use a cashpoint machine, if you don’t respond to a traffic light the very instant that it changes to green you are beeped, by everyone within a mile. Road manners, or their absolute absence, is a constant topic of conversation in this country, because that elegant woman in her fifties over there in her SUV would run over one of your children rather than give you an inch of her road space. And if you don’t join in the fight, don’t engage with this schizophrenic reality, you may as well just go and live in Luxemburg. However, a non-slippery, tangible reality does also exist. The taste of Ecuadorian chocolate and coffee is absolutely real. The sound of the Amazon jungle is intense, the heat of the sun against your skin when you are at altitude is sharp and penetrating and the sheer variety of greens in the cloud forest is overwhelming. And, there is nothing more tangible and real than concrete foundations and breeze block walls, and seeing those being created in the cloud forest, ready for our first Gappers in January, is damn exciting. The building is largely bamboo, so these rather blunt things will blend in, will become part of this wonderful landscape. This place will be their home while they are on their own adventure. I hope that it gives them a sense of certainty, a sense of knowing where things are and which way is up, but I also hope that it doesn’t give them too much of that sense. To understand Latin America, you need to understand that sometimes the anticipated up is in fact down, and enjoy that.

Philip Niewold

Queensferry

(South Queensferry)

in 1990 by a monitoring team from the nearby Rosyth naval dockyard. Since then Sepa says at least 1650 pieces of radioactive debris, from tiny specks to lumps as big as half-bricks, have been detected and removed. Surveys show the shore near the sailing club slipways is being repolluted by about 100 particles a year. experts think the particles are being swept in by sea currents from the headland.

Sepa’s new health assessment concludes that the pollution at Dalgety Bay poses “a significant hazard to health”. The dangers will persist until the source of the par ticles is found and stopped, it says. experiments suggested up to 25% of the particles would dissolve in the stomach and stay in the body, against up to 15% suggested by previous tests. The resulting radiation doses for very young children could be hundreds of times higher than the nuclear industry’s one milliSievert a year limit for members of the public. Sepa pointed out that the radium 266 in the particles had a half-life of 1600 years so would remain dangerous for centuries. Agency radioactive substances specialist Paul Dale said there was a one-in-91 chance people would encounter contamination on the Dalgety Bay foreshore.

But the odds might grow if interesting remains of plane dials were picked up and taken home. Radioactive paint flakes could lodge under a fingernail and be transferred to the mouth. The Dalgety Bay Sailing Club said it took the pollution very seriously, and had moved warning signs to make them more visible. “The club has informed its membership and re-emphasised the hygiene advice already given,” said club spokesman, David Burnett. “The club will fully participate in all future discussions regarding management of the issue as well as actively investigating practical solutions for long-term remediation.” The MoD said that it took safety very seriously. A spokeswoman said: “Should significant risks present themselves, then Sepa has the necessary statutory powers to address these.”

PAGE 11 nEWS

Watchdog warning over radiation risk to children MoD faces fresh clean-up call Rob EdWaRds YOUNG children exposed to radiation from old military planes at a popular Scottish coastal town face a significant risk of getting cancer later in life, according to a new study by Scotland’s environment watchdog. The Scottish environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has warned that babies or toddlers who accidentally swallow one of the tiny “hot particles” that keep polluting the foreshore near a yacht club at Dalgety Bay in Fife, could get radiation doses hundreds of times higher than the maximum permitted from nuclear reactors. earlier studies have underestimated health hazards from the pollution, Sepa warned. New

tests have shown more of the radioactive particles are likely to dissolve and stay inside the body than previously thought. Sepa is upping its pressure on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to take responsibility for the pollution. That means finding out exactly where the particles are coming from, and paying for them to be cleaned up. This weekend, Sepa has been backed by a former senior MoD safety official, who accused the ministry of “prevarication”. Fred Dawson, who worked for the MoD for 31 years before he retired as head of the radiation protection policy team in 2009, said public agencies had been playing a game of “pass the parcel” with the Dalgety Bay pollution.

The health risk was “most worrying”, and action to tackle the problem at its source should have been taken when it was first discovered more than 20 years ago, Dawson argued. he said: “The MoD should take immediate responsibility for the contamination and fund all work necessary to make Dalgety Bay beach safe.” Dalgety Bay was the site of the old Donibristle military airfield, where many aircraft were dismantled after the end of the Second World War. Dials in the planes were coated with luminous radioactive radium so they could be read at night. The dials were removed and incinerated in a “bash, burn and bury” policy, along with other waste. The ash and clinker was used as landfill to reclaim part of the headland next to the bay. Radioactive contamination in the area was found accidentally

LOCATION

Firth of Forth

Dragon Bannatyne to soldier up Kilimanjaro for armed forces charity EXCLUsIVE

“It’ll be a phenomenal achievement for these guys to complete this challenge and I’m really looking forward to being with them throughout it as they’re great fun.” The self-made millionaire, who owns the Bannatyne’s health Clubs chain, became involved with the charity – which helps injured ex-special forces personnel – after meeting Ben Parkinson.

VICToRIa WELdoN

he is used to challenges in the boardroom and the business world. But Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne is about to take on his biggest challenge yet – a trek to the top of Africa’s highest mountain. The renowned businessman, originally from Clydebank, is raising money for ex-servicemen’s charity Pilgrim Bandits and will be joined by a group of amputee soldiers in an expediThere will be seven tion to Kilimanjaro in February. Mr Bannatyne, a patron of the serving soldiers, plus charity, said: “This expedition five amputees. I will have could not be for a better cause. I am an ambassador for Pilgrim to train hard to make Bandits and have seen at first sure I’m not left behind hand the tremendous work they Mr Parkinson was seriously do with forces amputees. “I decided to do the trek because injured while serving as a paraof the amazing courage and trooper in Afghanistan. he lost determination of the guys that both legs and his voice, as well involve. There’s not much I’m we help in the charity, guys who as sustaining brain damage, looking forward to at the have lost limbs and are still will- after a roadside bomb exploded moment to be honest – getting it over with and raising money are ing to jump out of aeroplanes in 2006. Mr Bannatyne said: “I was about the only things.” and take on extraordinary tasks. he added that he is “dreading “There will be seven serving actually asked to join the charI had achievelunch with“he Benwanted the oxygen situation” caused by soldiers from 7 Rifles plus five“It’llity be awhen phenomenal me to give the EXCLUsIVE ment for these guys to complete doha charity Parkinson, who is one charity of the£5 million t h e hori g altitude of the amputees on the trip and I will VICToRIa WELdoN this challenge and I’m really skydive, me being the tight most seriously injured ex- somountain. have to train hard to make sure looking forward tofrom beingAfghanistan. with Scotsman thathowever, I am, agreed do servicemen histofriend and celebI’m not left behind.

‘‘

Sepa’s new health assessment concludes that the pollution at Dalgety Bay poses “a significant hazard to health”. The dangers will persist until the source of the par ticles is found and stopped, it says. experiments suggested up to 25% of the particles would dissolve in the stomach and stay in the body, against up to 15% suggested by previous tests. The resulting radiation doses for very young children could be hundreds of times higher than the nuclear industry’s one milliSievert a year limit for members of the public. Sepa pointed out that the radium 266 in the particles had a half-life of 1600 years so would remain dangerous for centuries. Agency radioactive substances specialist Paul Dale said there was a one-in-91 chance people would encounter contamination on the Dalgety Bay foreshore.

But the odds might grow if interesting remains of plane dials were picked up and taken home. Radioactive paint flakes could lodge under a fingernail and be transferred to the mouth. The Dalgety Bay Sailing Club said it took the pollution very seriously, and had moved warning signs to make them more visible. “The club has informed its membership and re-emphasised the hygiene advice already given,” said club spokesman, David Burnett. “The club will fully participate in all future discussions regarding management of the issue as well as actively investigating practical solutions for long-term remediation.” The MoD said that it took safety very seriously. A spokeswoman said: “Should significant risks present themselves, then Sepa has the necessary statutory powers to address these.”

Scotland Office attacks SNP in tugs row

The Scotland Office has accused the SNP of irresponsible scaremongering over its criticism of a decision to withdraw funding for two emergency tugs. The contract for the tugs in the Western Isles and Shetland expired earlier this month. The UK GovernQueensferry (South Queensferry) ment has promised limited funding to extend their use for an interim period of up in 1990 by a monitoring team to three months. from the nearby Rosyth naval Dr Richard Dixon, direcdockyard. Since then Sepa says tor of World Wildlife Fund at least 1650 pieces of radioScotland, said Government active debris, from tiny specks to “penny-pinching” is risking lumps as big as half-bricks, have lives and the environment. been detected and removed. SNP transport spokesman Surveys show the shore near Angus MacNeil MP echoed the sailing club slipways is being Dr Dixon’s comments: “Leavrepolluted by about 100 particles ing Scottish waters without a year. experts think the partiany emergency cover has cles are being swept in by sea needlessly added to the currents from the headland. dangers faced by those who use Scotland’s seas. “It’s also putting Scotland’s environment at risk. “he wanted me to give the The Tory and LibDem charity £5 million or do a charity Government is simply trying skydive, so me being the tight to save money, when it Scotsman that I am, agreed to do should be about saving lives the skydive. I did the jump and and protecting the seas.” we raised £30,000 for the A Scotland Office spokesman said the office is workcharity. ing closely with the “We met up after that and I Maritime and Coastguard just enjoyed his company and Agency on the issues of decided to become more cover and safety in general. involved. he said Mr MacNeil had “These guys shouldn’t be repeatedly claimed there is sitting at home doing nothing. no cover for emergency towing vehicles (eTVs) The charity gets them out and despite the Government gets them doing things.” making clear it could “spot The TV star, who has been purchase” a vessel in the case critical of the Government’s of an incident while sorting decision to cap compensation out an interim contract. payments to veterans at £570,000, In direct response to Mr plans to train with the former MacNeil, he added: “There is no need for irresponsible soldiers in advance of the chalscaremongering as a result. lenge but admits that he’s not “[Mr MacNeil] continues Kirsty Anderson looking forward to the 10-day TOP MAN: Duncan Bannatyne will tackle Africa’s highest mountain next year. Main picture: to misunderstand the differtrek. ence between search and peak will beand ledanby he said: “We’ve got some rity DJ, Chris Moyles, who in December. he lost his left leg (19,341ft) rescue vessels eTV guideand Rhys training in the diary for it, but I completed a Kilimanjaro trek in and now has a prosthetic limb expeditionservice the Jones, nature of “I’ve no doubt this don’t know yet what that will 2009, has told him not to worry. and is awaiting a medical who added: the contract process.” 21

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etting up a new life in a new country is an interesting experience, and, frankly, not one for the faint hearted. And, having been through this I think that perhaps I am well placed to understand some of the things that our Gappers are going through when they embark on an adventure. Think of a broken ice flow. Think of an earthquake. Think of those images of a young duck trying to gain some purchase on a frozen lake. That is what it is like being somewhere new. Nothing, nothing is where you expect it to be. Nothing works in the way that you are used to it working. Nothing will stay still so you can grasp it: nothing can be taken for granted. After a while it gets tiring trying to cope with it all, but it is the sort of tiredness that gives you a warm glow, the sense of satisfaction that comes from really living. There is a literary genre called Magical Realism, which originated in Latin America. In Magical Realism the “magical” sits along side the “real” quite comfortably, with perhaps an equality of status. There is a very good reason that this literary form comes from this continent, because that is what life is like here. Driving through the Amazon a while back, following a big inter-city bus, I realized that there was a dog on the roof of the bus. I don’t know when or how he got on there, and I don’t know when or how he got off. I overtook after a while (yes, he was up there, happily wandering around the roof, travelling along at 50 miles an hour, for what could easily be described as a “while”) because I have been here a matter of months now and Latin American reality is already taking hold. There’s a tree, there’s a car, there’s a dog on top of a bus; whatever. I have decided that the answer to the question “Why?” here is never particularly interesting. Normally, people simply shrug and carry on, as if the answer is unimportant. When you drive into a car park you are issued with a little piece of paper, on which has been written the time of your arrival and the details of your number plate. When you leave, you hand this back in. No money changes hands. What are the pieces of paper for? Where do they all go – tens, hundreds, of thousands must be produced each day? What is the point? I have asked – no one knows. And when I ask I realize that I am chasing the wrong reality and should just get on with it. The most immediate disassociation from reality comes from the national quirk of temperament that pertains for every single Ecuadorian when he or she gets into a car. Meet an Ecuadorian in a building, on the pavement, in a shop, up a mountain, in the jungle, anywhere, and the chances are he will

Dragon Bannatyne to soldier up Kilimanjaro for armed forces charity

Mr Bannatyne said: “he said, ‘if I can do it, you can do it so just get on with it, Duncan’.” The dragon will be joined on the trek by Miss Commonwealth International hayley Mac, another patron of the charity, and amputee soldier Chris Parkes, who was injured by an explosive device in Afghanistan

discharge from the Army. Rifleman Parkes, of the 3rd Battalion Rifles, based in edinburgh, said: “I want to challenge myself as best I can and am doing this expedition to prove to people that I am not an invalid, but a strong individual who can get over obstacles.” The trek to the 5895-metre

will be a challenging undertaking, not least of all for the amputees, but for us all. I’m confident though it will be a safe and ultimately successful trek.” Anyone wishing to donate money to the Kilimanjaro expeACTOR ewan dition can do so at McGregor www. has ruled out the possibility bmycharity.com/killyteam.

Royal Collection releases china Major who created safe area set to mark the Queen’s jubilee for Afghans cited in honours

‘‘ Amputee soldier Chris Parkes, who is going on the climb, said: “I want to Gym boss challenge myself as best I can and am in drink drive trial doing this expedition to prove to people Royal Collection releases china Major who created safe area set to I mark the not Queen’san jubilee for Afghansbut cited inahonours that am invalid, strong individual who can get over obstacles.” The official commemorative china marking the Queen’s diamond jubilee goes on sale today. hand-gilded in 22 carat gold, the range includes a £49 teacup and saucer, a £25 mug, a seveninch plate for £35, a 10-inch plate for £95 and a limited-edition twohandled loving cup for £175. T h e Q u e e n h e rs e l f h a s approved the fine bone china memorabilia, which has given a “vital, consistent stream of work” to its makers, said Nuala McGourty, retail director at The Royal Collection. She added: “We wanted a design that was decorative and feminine, and that would

range is even more labourintensive in production than the

provide the right provenance for the diamond jubilee.” The 10-piece set was inspired by the grand porcelain Rockingham dessert service commissioned by William IV in 1830 and first used at the 1838 coronation banquet of Queen Victoria, the only other monarch to celebrate 60 years on the throne. Using methods dating back 250 years, the diamond jubilee set was hand-made in Stoke-onTrent by the same potteries responsible for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official wedding china. Mrs McGourty said: “This range is even more labourintensive in production than the

firings and require highly skilled craftspeople at each stage.”

under fire more than 70 times. Major Turner, from London,

AN Army officer has been awarded the Distinguished Service Order for leading the transformation of a community to allow scores of Afghans displaced by the Taliban to return to their homes. All but 20 of the 100 families living in helmand’s Upper Gereshk Valley had left before Major Alexander Turner, 37, and his company of Irish Guards arrived last October. O ve r t i m e, t h e o f f i c e r persuaded the Afghans it was safe to return by building trust and personally taking part in more than 100 patrols, coming under fire more than 70 times. Major Turner, from London,

targeting local Afghans. Two of Major Turner’s men

said: “We pushed into areas controlled by the Taliban, areas they felt were safe havens. We created a calm space in which local civilians could feel confident they would be safe. “We researched the cropplanting cycles and encouraged them to return. Once the trickle started, word of mouth created a change in momentum and once we had that we were struggling to find enough room in the area to accommodate a police station as families returned.” There were 15 improvised explosive device strikes in the area during his tour, four targeting local Afghans. Two of Major Turner’s men

women were named in the latest military honours list.

were killed – dog handler Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, 26, from Fife, and Guardsman Chris Davies, 22 – and another six lost limbs. Paying tribute, the officer said: “It is a comfort to know what an incredible difference everyone has made towards achieving the objectives we set out with.” Major Turner’s medal citation said he made himself a “pivotal figure” in the area, hosting meetings of elders at his base and becoming a source of “wise advice and counsel” for locals. A total of 140 servicemen and women were named in the latest military honours list.

GYM tycoon and former professional tennis player David Lloyd is facing trial in Scotland accused of drink-driving offences. The multi-millionaire was stopped by police on the A83 near Loch Lomond in his Audi S3 Quattro earlier this year. he is alleged to have refused to co-operate with a breath test requested by a police officer who thought he had been driving “while having alcohol or drugs in his body”. The 63-year-old is then said to have refused to give a further two specimens of breath when he was taken to the Clydebank police station. he is to stand trial at Dumbarton Sheriff Court in January next year, after denying the two charges at a hearing in June.

Expedition dates: 16-26 February 2012 Pilgrim Bandits: www.pilgrimbandits.com RJ7: www.rjseven.com To donate money to Pilgrim Bandits: www.bmycharity.com/killyteam ON SALE: The china which marks the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

royal wedding china. Some of the pieces go through nine different processes, several firings and require highly skilled craftspeople at each stage.”

The Scotland Office has accused the SNP of irresponsible scaremongering over its criticism of a decision to withdraw funding for two emergency tugs. The contract for the tugs in the Western Isles and Shetland expired earlier this month. The UK Government has promised limited funding to extend their use for an interim period of up to three months. Dr Richard Dixon, director of World Wildlife Fund Scotland, said Government “penny-pinching” is risking lives and the environment. SNP transport spokesman Angus MacNeil MP echoed Dr Dixon’s comments: “Leaving Scottish waters without any emergency cover has needlessly added to the dangers faced by those who use Scotland’s seas. “It’s also putting Scotland’s environment at risk. The Tory and LibDem Government is simply trying to save money, when it should be about saving lives and protecting the seas.” A Scotland Office spokesman said the office is working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the issues of cover and safety in general. he said Mr MacNeil had repeatedly claimed there is no cover for emergency towing vehicles (eTVs) despite the Government making clear it could “spot purchase” a vessel in the case of an incident while sorting out an interim contract. In direct response to Mr MacNeil, he added: “There is no need for irresponsible scaremongering as a result. “[Mr MacNeil] continues to misunderstand the difference between search and rescue vessels and an eTV service and the nature of the contract process.”

McGregor rules out Porno film ACTOR ewan McGregor has ruled out the possibility of a Trainspotting sequel. McGregor shot to fame after playing the character, Renton, in the 1996 film of the Irvine Welsh novel. The film, based on a series of short stories, follows a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s edinburgh. The film’s Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle has previously spoken about making a sequel – Porno, based on Welsh’s follow-up novel. But McGregor said: “I would be worried of damaging Trainspotting’s standing by making a poor sequel. “The film is too important to me and British cinema. If we made a crap sequel, it would be a real shame.”

McGregor rules out Gym boss Porno film

he is used to challenges in the them throughout it as they’re the skydive. I did the jump and of a Trainspotting sequel. boardroom and the business great fun.” McGregor shot to fame we raised £30,000 for the world. But Dragons’ Den star after playing the character, The self-made millionaire, charity. Duncan Bannatyne is about to who owns the Bannatyne’s “We met up after that and I Renton, in the 1996 film of take on his biggest challenge yet health Clubs chain, became just enjoyed his company and the Irvine Welsh novel. – a trek to the top of Africa’s involved with the charity – d e c i d e d t o b e c o m e m o r e The film, based on a highest mountain. series of short stories, which helps injured ex-special involved. “These guys shouldn’t be The renowned businessman, forces personnel – after meeting follows a group of heroin sitting at home doing nothing. originally from Clydebank, is Ben Parkinson. addicts in a late 1980s The charity gets them out and raising money for ex-serviceedinburgh. gets them doing things.” men’s charity Pilgrim Bandits The film’s Oscar-winning The TV star, who has been and will be joined by a group of director Danny Boyle has The official provide the right provenance for of the Government’s – dog handler Lance AN Army officer has been said: “We pushed into areas were killedpreviously critical amputee soldierscommemorative in an expedispoken about Therethe will be seven decision to cap compensation tion to Kilimanjaro making a sequel Porno, china markingin February. the Queen’s diamond jubilee.” Tasker, 26, –from awarded the Distinguished controlled by the Taliban, areas Corporal Liam payments to veterans at £570,000, Mr Bannatyne, a patron of on the sale on Welsh’s Chris follow-up servingThe soldiers, plus diamond jubilee goes 10-piece set was inspired Guardsman Service Order for leading the they felt were safe havens. We Fife, and based plans to train with the former charity, have Rockingtoday. said: “This expedition five amputees. by the grandI will porcelain and another six lost transformation of a community created a calm space in which Davies, 22 –novel. soldiers in advance of the chalcould not be for a better cause. I But McGregor said: “I hand-gilded in 22 carat gold, ham dessert service commisto allow scores of Afghans local civilians could feel confi- limbs. lenge but admits that he’s not am an ambassador for Pilgrim to train hard to make would be worried of damagthe range £49 teacup William IV in 1830 and forward to the 10-day TOP MAN: Duncan dent they be picture: safe. Kirsty AndersonPaying ing tribute, the officer displaced by tackle the Taliban to mountain sure sioned I’m notbyleft behind Bannatyne will Africa’s highest nextwould year. Main looking Bandits andincludes have seena at first Trainspotting’s standand the saucer, a £25 mug, a seven- first used at the 1838 coronation “We researched the crop- said: “It ising a comfort to know return to their homes. trek. hand tremendous work they by making a poor inch plate for £35, a 10-inch plateMr banquet Queen Victoria,he thesaid: “We’ve got some rity DJ, Chris Moyles, and encouraged what difference All but who 20 of the 100 families (19,341ft) peak will be led by an incredible Parkinsonofwas seriously do with forces amputees. sequel. in December. he lost planting his left legcycles expedition guide Rhys Jones, injured while serving as a paratraining in the diary for it, but I completed a Kilimanjaro “I decided the trek because two“The film is too imporin and now has a prosthetic for £95 andtoado limited-edition only other monarch to celebrate themlimb to return. Once the trickle everyone has made towards living trek in helmand’s Upper who no doubt this Afghanistan. he lost don’t know yet what that will 2009, has told him of the amazing and trooper tant to me andweBritish not to worry. is awaiting medical had left before astarted, Valley and handled loving courage cup for £175. 60in years on the throne. word of added: mouth“I’ve created achieving the objectives set Gereshk will be a challenging and his voice, as dating well involve. determination Mr BannatyneMajor said: “he said, discharge from the Army. Alexander Turner, 37, and T h e Q u eof e nthehguys e rs ethat l f h aboth s legsUsing methods back There’s not much I’m a change in momentum and underout with.” cinema. If we made a crap we help in the charity, guys who as sustaining brain damage, looking forward to at the ‘if I can do it, you can do it so just sequel, it would be a real Rifleman Parkes, of the 3rd taking, not least of all for the his company of Irish Guards once we had that we were strugapproved the fine bone china 250 years, the diamond jubilee Major Turner’s medal citation have lost limbs and are still will- after a roadside bomb exploded moment to be honest – getting it get on with it, Duncan’.” shame.” Battalion Rifles, based in edin- amputees, but for us all. I’m ONraising SALE:money The china arrived laston October. memorabilia, has givenina 2006. set was hand-made in Stoke-onto findconfident enough room in the said though it will behe made himself a “pivotal over with and are which ing to jump out which of aeroplanes Themarks dragon will be joined burgh, said: “I want togling challenge the Queen’s O ve r t i m e, myself the o i c e rI can “vital, by the area accommodate a policesuccessful figure” in the area, hosting a safe and ultimately Bannatyne said:same “I waspotteries about the only things.” diamond jubilee. and take onconsistent extraordinarystream tasks. ofMr Trent the trek by Miss Commonwealth asf fbest andtoam the Afghans it was station work” its be makers, said Nuala responsible for Duke he and meetings of elders at his base trek.” returned.” actually asked to join thethe charadded that he is “dreading International persuaded “Theretowill seven serving hayley Mac, doing this expedition to prove as to families Anyone wishing to donate ity when I had lunch with Ben official the oxygenroyal situation” causedchina. by another soldiers fromretail 7 Rifles plus five of the that trust I am not anThere invalid, were safe tocharity, return bypeople building McGourty, director at The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding Some patron of 15 improvised and becoming a source of “wise moneystrikes to the Kilimanjaro expe- and counsel” for locals. whochina. is one of the t h e h i g hthe a l t ipieces t u d e o go f t hthrough e and amputee amputees on the trip and I will Parkinson, soldier Chris but a strong individual who can device and personally taking part in explosive Royal Collection. wedding nine in the advice dition do four so at www. seriously injured said: ex- mountain. have to train hard to make sure most Parkes, who wasmore injured by an get over obstacles.” than 100 patrols, coming area during She added: “We wanted a Mrs McGourty “This different processes, several his can tour, A total of 140 servicemen and The trek to the 5895-metre bmycharity.com/killyteam. servicemen from Afghanistan. however, his friend and celeb- explosive device in Afghanistan I’m not left behind.

design that was decorative and feminine, and that would

Scotland Office attacks SNP in tugs row

in drink drive trial

GYM tycoon and former professional tennis player David Lloyd is facing trial in Scotland accused of drink-driving offences. The multi-millionaire was stopped by police on the A83 near Loch Lomond in his Audi S3 Quattro earlier this year. he is alleged to have refused to co-operate with a breath test requested by a police officer who thought he had been driving “while having alcohol or drugs in his body”. The 63-year-old is then said to have refused to give a further two specimens of breath when he was taken to the Clydebank police station. he is to stand trial at Dumbarton Sheriff Court in January next year, after denying the two charges at a hearing in June.


12 

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photo competition

Put yourself in the picture

Our latest photo competition attracted a record number of entries. Contact us to find out how you could take part in 2012

T

his selection of pictures from our annual photography competition illustrates just some of the highlights of going on a volunteer expedition with Camps International. Make friends for life; get involved with environmental work; have the adventure of a lifetime and work on local community projects in areas that desperately need help. If you want to find out how you could get involved in the future and take the first step in planning your lifechanging expedition, please contact us through our website www.campsinternational.com or call us on 0844 800 1127. And the winner of the photography competition is? Visit our facebook page at www.facebook.com/ campsinternational to find out...

This newspaper is published by Camps International Ltd, Unit 10 Kingfisher Park, Headlands Business Park, Salisbury Road, Blashford, Ringwood, England, UK, BH24 3NX, www.campsinternational.com, 0844 800 1127. The opinions in the articles are those of the individual writers and not necessarily of Camps International Ltd or any associated personnel.


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