PARISHONERS from a Rugby church put their best foot forward to raise thousands of pounds to build a school for street children in Mozambique.
Ten runners from St Matthew’s Church in Lawford Road, Rugby, took part in two half-marathons in Kenilworth and Leicester – raising £3,000 for the school in Beira, Mozambique.
The money raised will be added to a pot of about £60,000 to pay to finish building a new school for the underprivileged youngsters.
Dez Tanser, aged 34, who finished the Kenilworth half-marathon in under two hours, said: "It was a really enjoyable event, brilliantly organised and we were all delighted to take part and happy that we have raised the money for such a good cause."
Phil Helmsley, aged 46, of Dunsmore Avenue, Rugby, completed the Leicester half-marathon in just under two hours.
The married father of two visited Beira with members of St Matthew’s in January 2004 where a centre for 45 street children had been set up in two small rooms of a derelict building.
He said: "The rubbish had been cleared out but it was still a very, very run-down building, so we talked about their vision for the future for a bigger centre, bought them a plot of land and now we have got to pay for it."
The Casa Re’om project has already seen builders put up a four-room dormitory, a kitchen and temporary toilets.
They have also connected the school to the electricity supply and plan to install running water in the next few weeks.
When it is completed, the school will be a new home for 50 of some of the poorest children in the world. It will also offer schooling for 100 pupils.
Mr Helmsley said: "The pastor at the school said that before it was built the children would have been sleeping on the streets, scouring rubbish tips for food.
"There are still street kids around there that sleep interlinked in doorways, so that if one gets grabbed they all wake up.
"It offers them some form of protection. But it is very different from living here.
"We are about halfway to our fundraising target and, hopefully, we can raise enough money to help them.
"It would be great if anyone could give donations."
A team of six, including Martin Saxby, the vicar at St Matthew’s, has just left Rugby to spend up to a month working on the project.