Barnstaple councillor will confront her fears on Gambia trip

A Barnstaple councillor will be taken well and truly out of her comfort zone when she joins a charity mission to Africa next week. Cockroaches, mosquitoes and indeed anything with more than two legs – plus a mortal fear of flying - are all things Julie Hu

A Barnstaple councillor will be taken well and truly out of her comfort zone when she joins a charity mission to Africa next week.

Cockroaches, mosquitoes and indeed anything with more than two legs - plus a mortal fear of flying - are all things Julie Hunt is not looking forward to facing when she leaves North Devon on Tuesday for the Gambia.

The town councillor will be joining the team from local charity Seedlings for Christ, set up by Barnstaple couple Ruth and Martin Kingdon.

They, along with many others from North Devon, make periodic visits to the West African country to help some of the most poverty-stricken people in the world. As well as distributing food, clothing, educational and medical supplies, the charity has sponsored a number of poor Gambian children, enabling them to go to school and recently even opened its own school in the area.


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As if a fear of "creepy crawlies" and flying was not enough, Julie is also a coeliac - unable to eat anything containing gluten - and is borderline anaemic, meaning she can become dehydrated very easily.

"When Ruth asked to go before I had always said no, because it would take me out of my comfort zone big time," she said. "But she called to say someone had dropped out and I said I would pray on it, but really didn't want to go. I thought the only reason I might is if I could do something to help children.

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"It is going to be a difficult two weeks for me. If I see a spider I scream - I just don't do creepy crawlies and I know there will be cockroaches, mosquitoes and all the rest.

"It's going to be an eye opener and I don't know what to expect, but I'm also told the people out there really are lovely."

To find out more about Seedlings for Christ and how you can help, visit www.seedlingsforchrist.com. If you would like to sponsor Julie's trip, there is a collection box at McDonalds' restaurant near Whiddon Valley.

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