Fetching pails of water for Christian Aid Week

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TWO local men have walked from Hexham to Corbridge and back — carrying heavy containers of water — to raise awareness of Christian Aid Week (May 10 to 16).

John McArdle, 68, and Tony Brookes, wanted to highlight the story of 67-year-old Rose Katanu, who walks five miles every two days in eastern Kenya to fetch 80 litres of water for her six grandchildren in her care.

When she was a girl, the rivers flowed with water and the crops bore fruit, but extreme weather caused by the climate crisis is making it harder and harder to survive the frequent droughts. The coronavirus pandemic has only increased the urgent need for families to access a reliable source of water.

Hexham Christian Aid Group is asking people to help those who don't have access to basics by giving to its annual appeal.

John and Tony, both local supporters of Christian aid, thought they should really see what it was like to fetch water over a long distance — so they decided to walk from their homes in Hexham to the water's edge at Corbridge to fill up their containers.

John said: "We found out that Rose took a donkey to carry the water back, but we could not manage to find one. In any event we didn't fancy the prospect of a donkey running amok along Corbridge Road."

Instead, he and Tony carried the water back to Hexham using Shank's pony — and it was very hard work!

Tony said: "We all take water so much for granted. Rose and her grandchildren shouldn't have to go to such lengths to keep from being hungry and thirsty.

"A simple earth dam, built with the help of Christian Aid's partners could completely change their lives. This Christian Aid Week, I would encourage everyone to give what they can to help families like Rose's survive the droughts."

Donations can be made online at caweek.org or by returning one of the envelopes delivered widely across Hexham by local volunteers to the Hexham Abbey Shop.

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