AYVA’S CHILLY FUNDRAISER FOR TANZANIA CHARITY VISIT

IT will be a frosty February for one Bangor teenager as she undertakes a daily sea swim to raise over £2,000 for a charity trip to rural Tanzania.

After the charity Go Make a Difference in Tanzania (Go MAD) gave a talk about their vital work to the pupils of Sullivan Upper School, 16 year-old Ayva Hennessey knew she had to do something to help.

Go MAD was established by Graham McClure in 2008, who was initially in the east African nation to help build a new cathedral. Now the charity he founded helps locals from rural Tanzanian villages, providing them with health, education, housing for those less fortunate, installing tanks for clean water and by championing their local businesses.

Travelling to the east African nation at the end of June for a fortnight, Ayva is hoping to raise £2,400 in total, and hopefully more.

For volunteers heading over to Tanzania, £2,100 is needed to cover their flights, accommodation and visas. Travelling students are recommended to raise an additional £300 for the charity. Ayva has gathered £900 so far. 

A hard worker and mature for her age according to her mother Leigh, Ayva paid for her £560 flight herself, thanks to her work as a part-time activities assistant at Ganaway Activity Centre in Millisle.

To make up the rest, she is selling Valentine’s Day arts and crafts on her Instagram page.

In addition, she is hosting a quiz and live music night on March 28 at the Bryansburn Inn. For £10 a head, attendees can take part in a quiz armed with their general knowledge, and listen to a mix of pop and funk, dating from the 1960s to today.

The main bulk of the money however, will be raised thanks to her daily sea swim she will be undertaking this month.

Braving the icy depths near Ballyholme Beach and Helen’s Bay, Ayva initially began this frosty journey with her friend Katie Miskelly, who had to temporarily forgo the swim due to ill health.

The year 13 pupil recalls the talk by the charity officers at the school, and how it inspired her to help.

“We recently got a talk from charity representatives from Go Mad, who came to school,” Ayva recalls. “They told us all about their charity. They build water tanks, goat sheds and loads of low-cost houses for widows and other under-privileged people.

“They also teach in local schools and teach health education in villages as well as try to promote business in the area too.

“For my goals, I am hoping to raise £2,400, but really as much as possible for the charity on top of that,” adds the Bangor teenager.

Now on day eight of her daily swim, the local girl states that she thought the icy plunge would be a ‘more interesting way to raise funds’, for the important organisation.

“I am doing the sea swim every day in February,” she said. “It has been quite good actually, very refreshing. I have been in the sea before, and done some swimming over the summer.

“I feel really excited about it all, being in the cold water is actually very good for you, and I am excited to make a habit out of it, and will maybe keep continuing it after February,” she added.

Donations to sponsor Ayva’s daily swim can be made at, https://www.gofundme.com/f/xuqww-help-ayva-get-to-tanzania. Her arts and crafts can be purchased via her Instagram page: Help Ayva get to Tanzania. Tickets for the quiz night can be bought via a Facebook page of the same name.