Letter: Star of wonder

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In a recent school project we investigated the cost of Christmas.

We discovered that the cost of an average family Christmas is about pounds 800 and believe that much could be saved if people became more aware of what they were being persuaded to buy.

One of our teachers introduced us to a friend who, on a visit to the Gambia, had been hospitalised. She was so appalled by the conditions that she now spends much of her time raising money for the hospital in Bansang. We worked out that it would be possible for a family to have a very happy Christmas and save at least pounds 200. This would provide a reconditioned wheelchair for a child in the Gambia. A cannula, which is a means of giving life- saving medication, costs only 82p, the equivalent of three Mars bars.

For three days we raised money at school and then presented our findings to our parents at the school carol service. Our friend faxed the hospital and, as we sang our carols, a candle was lit in every ward in Bansang. Our parents dug into their pockets and we will be sending enough money to provide four wheel chairs and 365 cannulas, one for each day of 1999. Our enterprise lasted only five days and involved a relatively small effort but its impact will still be enormous on people the other side of the world.

BEN SUMMERS

DAVID TIBBETS

All Saints C of E (Aided) Middle School

Northampton

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