Local businessman Neville Woods will spend his entire Christmas Day consuming just water – so that villages in East Africa can have access to clear, pure water.
It’s a charity effort by Neville who owns supermarkets in Richhill, Dobbin and Tandragee. He will be fasting for the 24 hours on December 25 – midnight to midnight - in a bid to collect more cash for the Portadown-based charity Fields of Life.
Over the past three years, he has raised £33,000 to provide drilling machines that bore deep into the earth and up comes the liquid of life. “And I’m hoping that three more can be provided this Christmas for three villages in Uganda, all with populations of around 1,000, but which have no fresh water,” he said. And while his family is tucking into the turkey and all the trimmings, Neville will be drinking the traditional H20. “But I’ll have turkey on Boxing Day, and I’ll enjoy it all the more,” he said.
Neville added, “So far, my efforts have provided nine drills. It really is life-saving as one child in five dies before the age of five as the result of having to drink polluted water from ponds and rivers.”
He likes to concentrate his efforts on Uganda, which he last visited in September on behalf of Fields of Life, and his efforts have afforded him great pride.
Fields of Life currently work in six East African Countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To date they have managed the construction of 117 schools, with currently over 50,000 children receiving an education, and have also drilled over 410 wells bringing safe, clean water to approximately 500,000 people.
“We truly appreciate Neville’s efforts,” said a spokesperson for the charity, “and we appeal to everyone to support his efforts.” The charity can be contacted at Portadown 02838 390395, or leave donations at any of Neville’s outlets.