Tunbridge Wells students serve up table tennis marathon to fund African mission
by Andy Tong | 4th April 2019
TWO sixth-form students at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells have completed a 24-hour table tennis marathon.
Dan Allen, 17, and 18-year-old George Griffiths took up the ping-pong challenge to raise funds for a mission trip to Kenya they will be embarking on in July.
The Year 13 teenagers will be working with a Christian charity called Turning Point in the slums of the Kibera district of the country’s capital city, Nairobi.
They will also be linking up with another charity, Education for Life, in Mombasa during their month-long trip.
The idea for the table tennis marathon came from the friends’ love for the sport and their involvement in the Tunbridge Wells Church Table Tennis League.
The pair began their endurance attempt at the Church of Christ in Commercial Road at 8pm on Friday March 22 and kept going until the following evening.
They took on nearly 40 different competitors, and started with traditional table tennis bats, before moving on to sandpaper bats, frying pans, books, and at one stage even their phones.
Dan said: “We were hugely encouraged by the number of people who came to support us by playing or simply to cheer us on.
“We were exhausted, but elated at the amount of money we were able to raise.”
George added: “We wanted to do something meaningful after our exams finished, and having this opportunity to work in a different culture is both challenging and exciting. Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far.”
Turning Point runs two classes in Kibera. The Prep Class is for children who have never been to school and need to learn the basics before attending the local primary; and the Transition Class is for those who have dropped out of school and need to catch up so that they can rejoin formal education.
They provide textbooks and learning materials for all, while in the unofficial slum schools up to six children share a book
The charity also run their own Fountains of Hope school, with classes of no more than 25 pupils – the state schools have as many as 70 in each class.
They provide textbooks and learning materials for all, while in the unofficial slum schools up to six children share a book.
The pupils benefit from a free feeding programme and take extra classes in IT, religious education, and sports and creative arts as well as the national curriculum.
In Mombasa, Education for Life runs a school called Tumaini, which consists of a nursery, primary and the Timbwani High School.
The charity seeks sponsorship for the children so they can receive lunch, a uniform, PE kit, textbooks, other books and stationery.
George is a member of Christ Church in Southborough, where his father, Nigel, is the curate, while Dan is a member of Church of Christ.
The two churches joined forces to enter a team in the league. A total of 15 teams from eight different churches take part in three divisions.
Participating churches must have at least two tables and a hall big enough to play two matches at the same time.
For more information about the Tunbridge Wells Church Table Tennis League, email David Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or David Christmas at: email@example.com
If you would like to make a donation, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dan-george-kenya