Bishop Martin Morrison travelled to Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, to accept the money raised during EC25, a year of fundraising to mark the silver anniversary and to leave a legacy to help some of the world’s poorest children.
Bishop Martin, of the Christian charity Love Trust, said the money would be used to buy a plot of land in Tembisa, a township the size of Tyneside, and pay for the first phase of a new school that will eventually grow to take children from 5-18.
Emmanuel students heard that, as well as providing education, the school would also be environmentally-friendly, built out of recycled shipping containers and generating its own solar power.
Bishop Martin told them: “Thank you for your effort, blood, sweat and tears and all you have done to love your neighbour. We believe as Christians that we need to provide love, care and good education with values and a moral compass for the poorest of the poor.
“Your fundraising has encouraged us to start a school of excellence providing high quality Christian education. We are so delighted and thankful for what you have done and the huge amount of effort you have put in. Thank you for this extraordinary gift.”
Many of the children who will attend the school have been infected, or affected, by HIV/Aids and some are orphans who have lost parents to the disease. A range of social problems leading to an average life expectancy of just 56 and 40 per cent unemployment afflict the Tembisa area.
Bishop Martin said the land purchase should be completed within a couple of months and the building of phase one should get underway next year.
Initially the school will have ten classrooms, large hall and offices. As new year groups join, it will grow to 25 classrooms.
Engineers are working on the design incorporating shipping containers, which are low cost, easy to build, safe and secure, bullet-proof, moveable and can be well insulated. Windows and door openings can be cut into them and full power and plumbing installed.
The project will also generate employment and skills development opportunities for local people.
Matt Waterfield, Head of School at Emmanuel College, said: “It has been a remarkable fundraising year with a huge amount of time and hard work put in by many people, led in college by Mrs Lisk and Mr Bourn.
To hear from Bishop Martin about how the money is to be spent and how quickly the school will become a reality has made it all very real for our staff and students and makes all the effort worthwhile.
“We will have an ongoing relationship with Tembisa and look forward to updates in the coming months and years to see how the project is developing.”
More than 75 separate fundraising events and activities were organised throughout the year including a dinner for all current and former staff, a coast-to-coast bike ride and dozens of smaller projects.
An artist’s impression of how the school in Tembisa, South Africa, paid for by fund-raising by Emmanuel College, Gateshead, will look made out of shipping containers