A CHARITY devoted to helping children whose father or mother has died or sustained life-threatening injuries whilst serving in Britain’s armed or civilian forces is funding the trip of a lifetime for 15 youngsters. 

The Forces Children’s Trust (FCT) is sending the group, who are aged between 14 and 19, to Lesotho in Africa to work alongside local people, learn about the culture and provide a helping hand in projects including building a water tank for a village school, making organic community gardens, renovating classrooms and carrying out repairs on community building.

FCT founder Denny Wise said: “This is an amazing opportunity for young members of the FCT to encourage and support the South African children who have also had to deal with trauma and loss.”

To prepare for the trip, the youngsters attended a training weekend in Bedfordshire where they camped overnight and cooked for themselves, simulating the conditions of the expedition. The group learnt to work as a team under arduous conditions and picked up basic expedition skills including preparing equipment, health and safety, catering for a team and camp craft.  

The expedition starts on 27 July when the team flies to Durban in South Africa before heading towards the Drakensberg Mountains. They will be overnighting in huts and may get the opportunity to spend a night in a mountain cave, perhaps even being lucky enough to spot an endangered bearded vulture or black and martial eagle.

The group will also visit Hluhluwe (pronounced ‘scha-schlu-wey’) Game Reserve, the oldest existing wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and renowned for bringing back the endangered species of black and white rhino and wild dog from extinction.

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