The amazing things one family has done to feed 600 children…

Graeme Bradley
Graeme Bradley
Video Editor at Mary's Meals

Back to all stories | Posted on 18 October 19 in Blog

The rain stopped as we reached the summit, and the grey clouds, which had stalked us for the past six hours, finally parted enough for us to realise just how high we had climbed. How far we had come.  

Five years before that rainy day in June on the peak of Stuc a'Chroin, I never would have thought that sponsoring a school with Mary's Meals would have taken us across the Highlands of Scotland with a committed group of family and friends. But then again, it’s been five years full of surprises!

In 2014, we began sponsoring Malowa Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi in memory of Shannon Dickson, my wife's younger sister who had died as a baby due to a rare genetic condition. It was originally planned as a one-off, to sponsor the school for a single year for what would have been Shannon's 21st birthday. However, the first major surprise came when we exceeded our target and made the decision to go for another year, and then another.

The generosity of other people is something that continues to catch us off guard and is the only reason we have been able to carry on this amazing journey. From close friends and family to colleagues and complete strangers, we have continually seen the abundant kindness of others.

Throughout our sponsorship of Malowa, family is something that consistently comes to the forefront. Blood-relatives or otherwise, I think it is a word that describes the web of connections we make in our lives. The strongest of those bonds, we consider family ...

The amazing things different family members have done to help feed the 600 children at Malowa has been overwhelming!

One of the biggest fundraisers we undertook was a sponsored challenge to climb 25 Munros (mountains in Scotland over 3,000ft). "I'll try to do just one", said my wife Suzie as we gathered a rag-tag group of volunteers to take on the challenge. Again, the generosity of others with their time and support, not only for fundraising but for each other, really lifted the prospect of completing the challenge and our fundraising goal. And, despite her initial reservations, Suzie has bagged herself a considerable number of Munros since – including the UK's highest mountain – Ben Nevis.

Not to be outdone, my daughter Isla also climbed Tinto Hill in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, aged just two years old. 

My 10-year-old niece Ava learned to make bath bombs when she was eight and has been making them for donations for the last two years, raising more than £1,000.

So, standing atop the final mountain of our most recent 25 Munros challenge, looking out over the peaks of the southern Highlands, the bonds of our family have strengthened. With each new act of support, our family grows and we continue on this journey together in memory of baby Shannon.

Shannon never had the chance to grow up and fulfill her life, achieve her dreams and reach her goals, but through Mary's Meals and the promise of a daily meal at school, we hope, in her memory, we are bringing children at Malowa Primary School one step closer to doing that in their own lives.  

There are many different ways you can help by donating your time, money, thoughts and prayers.