11:37 Tuesday 29 January 2013

Footprints backers put best foot forward

Written byTIM FLETCHER

AN African orphanage set up by a Burton woman is launching its latest fund-raising effort – as its founder makes a rare return to her home town.

Footprints Orphanage is asking people to take part in a sponsored walk to generate much-needed cash for the project, which opened in 2010 in the Shimba Hills region of Kenya.

Founder and former travel agent Kerry Watson, who is currently back at home in Stretton to be with her pregnant daughter, said she hoped the walk would become an annual event, like the charity ball held every autumn.

She told the Mail: “When we first started building Footprints, it was okay to just try and get a few bags of cement and bricks here and there but now the home needs at least £3,000 a month to run, so we have to raise our game.

“Something like this walk is massively important and if we can make it an annual thing like the ball, it would be amazing and would allow us to raise money on a bigger scale.”

Mrs Watson said being back in Burton gave her a fresh perspective on the scale and rapid growth of the orphanage she founded, which now also boasts a school providing education for 58 children.

She said: “When I’m out there I’m working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s only when I sit back here and look at it from a distance that it hits me.

“I sometimes feel like I’m on a treadmill and just have to keep running, but every night I go to sleep thinking that it’s all worth it.”

The sponsored walk, of five, 14 or 24 miles, is being run alongside one organised by the Jane Tomlinson Appeal for cancer charities and will run in Hope Valley, in the Peak District, on Sunday, April 28, with an entry fee to cover costs of £8, £15 or £20, depending on the distance walked.

Entry fees can be paid direct into the Footprints bank account using sort code 20-15-96 and account number 23827607, online at www.justgiving.com/footprintsorphanage/donate or by sending a cheque payable to Footprints Orphanage to 28, Gretton Avenue, Stretton, Burton-on-Trent, DE13 0BX.

Sponsorship forms are available from info@footprintsorphanage.com

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