During a luxury beach holiday in Kenya, Anne and Ian Gyde met a local boy who changed their lives forever.
The Birchencliffe couple’s meeting with Patrick, whose poverty inspired them to help Kenya’s poorest children, is the subject of ‘Heart-cry for Africa’.
The book, written by Anne and illustrated by Ian, will be sold to buy mosquito nets and first aid supplies for Patrick’s village of Mtwapa.
Heart-cry for Africa chronicles how the couple – and their friends at Scapegoat Hill Baptist Church – raised almost £90,000 to put 36 Kenyan children through education.
In 1990, Patrick led the Birchencliffe couple from their swanky resort to his village across the river where they saw heartbreaking poverty.
Anne, 69, said: “When Ian and I started we had no experience of charity work. It was just a holiday and we just couldn’t believe the poverty we experienced first hand.
“We were sat in this luxury hotel and the people serving us cocktails went back to their huts at night. Here was this poor village hidden from our view and it was cheek by jowl with a luxurious beach resort.”
Back home, Anne and Ian promptly formed a charity called Mission Kenya to fund an education for the African country’s poorest children.
Mission Kenya also built a new school in one village and a new classroom for a school in another.
The charity, which was dissolved in 2004 due to family and other commitments, provided two schools with safe water and sponsored a feeding programme in Kikambala, 20 miles from Mombasa.
One of the couple’s sponsored children – an orphan – is now a district nurse while another became an engineer for Kenya’s equivalent of the BBC.
But a secondary education in Kenya is still not free and for poor children, it is the only way out of poverty.
Anne added: “There’s humour in the book; it’s not just sob stories.
“It was fun to write and it brought it all back. I remember the real joy of it and the gratitude from the children and the schools.”
Heart-cry for Africa (£9.99) will be on sale at Huddersfield Parish Church’s Christmas Fete on November 29 (10am-2pm).
Copies are also available from Anne on 07800 844642.