Volunteer John heads for heart of Africa

ROTHERHAM trainee manager and quantity surveyor John Saddington is travelling to a tiny West African village to work on a vital medical centre.

John, who works for construction, regeneration and support services company Willmott Dixon in Rotherham.

He will be part of a four-man team, a plumber, electrician, gas fitter and multiskilled operative, which includes overhauling the centre in a remote village called Agome-sevah alongside the river Mono on the border between Togo and Benin

The team will live without electricity and home comforts while they tile, decorate, and add the finishing touches to the centre for Welwyn Garden City-based charity Dekamile.

The charity has provided the village with a supply of clean water, a new school roof, pigsties and beehives, refurbished the medical centre and will stock it with much needed medical supplies.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships named Dekamile as its “charity of the year” last spring and has donated more than £12,000 to the charity through a combination of local activities and supporting national events.

John joined Willmott Dixon two years ago as a gas fitter and electrician working on the company’s contract with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to deliver a repairs service to 12,000 council-owned properties in the areas of Wentworth South, Wentworth Valley, Rother Valley West and Rother Valley South.

He said, "I've done a bit of volunteering with local schools, and coached a rugby team, but have never done anything like this before.

“It seemed like a great opportunity to give back, and making a massive difference to the local community. I am really looking forward to completing the project, seeing the improvements whilst we are still there and the satisfaction of seeing look on their faces when it's all finished.

“Most people would never have the opportunity to experience something like this, and I am really looking forward to making a difference to the lives of the people living within the village.

"I've been travelling before so have a basic idea of what to expect and have had all my vaccinations, so I am as prepared as I'll ever be and anything could happen anywhere really. It's only two weeks but I might start to miss watching the rugby and enjoying a cold beer by the end of it!"