A Tynemouth man has carried 20kg of water from the River Wear on a three mile journey on the top of his head.
The Northumbrian Water worker re-enacted the gruelling trip millions of women and children in the developing world take every day to collect water for their families.
Dave Whitely (59) and colleagues walked from the company’s head office in Pity Me with empty buckets to Framwellgate Bridge in Durham to collect water from the river and then carried it back in true African style – a six mile round trip.
Dave, who has been fundraising for WaterAid for 27 years, said: “It astounds me the journey some children have to take every day, sometimes meaning they miss school, just to find water which is often dirty and unsafe to drink. A child dies every 20 seconds in the developing world from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
“The weight of the water is 20kg – like the allowance of luggage when going on holiday. We are so lucky to have clean, safe drinking water on tap. This ‘water walk’ was a great way to highlight this and today is especially important as it is the 30th anniversary day of WaterAid’s formation.”
In 2005 Dave visited the village of Bankolo in Tanzania with WaterAid and helped carry water while he was there. Thanks to WaterAid the village now has its own supply of safe water and the ‘water carry’ is no longer needed.
Dave, Jane Davison (26) from East Boldon, Judith Huffee (37) from Sunderland, Pam Lovell (50) from Hamsterley Forest, David Groark (45) from Seaham, Brian Ford (43) from Hunwick, Mike Rewcastle (58) from Winlaton Mill and Laura Patterson (29) from Ferryhill carried out the sponsored ‘water walk’ as part of a week of fundraising activity for Northumbrian Water’s chosen charity.
Other staff across the business supported the fundraising week with a raffle, a dress down day and by filling tubes of Smarties with 20 pence pieces.
John Mowbray, chair of Northumbrian Water’s WaterAid committee, said: “The ongoing support of Northumbrian Water staff and customers has helped WaterAid reach over 14 million people with safe water over the past 30 years and, since 2004, over nine million with sanitation. In the last fifteen years we have raised nearly five million in this region alone.”
Established in 1981 with projects in Zambia and Sierra Leone, WaterAid now works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific Region, improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
Around the world 884 million people do not have safe water and 2.6 billion live without adequate sanitation, causing preventable diseases which kill 4000 children every day.
For more information, go to www.wateraid.org or www.nwl.co.uk.
For more information, contact Philippa Clark, communications advisor, on 0191 301 5538 or firstname.lastname@example.org.