Nepalese school opened with charity funds raised by Old Mill staff in memory of colleague

June 28, 2019

Money raised by staff at West of England accountancy firm Old Mill in memory of a colleague who died of cancer has been instrumental in helping build a school in Nepal and provide pupils with learning materials.

Nick Baker, who was a dedicated charity fundraiser, lost a short and sudden battle with cancer three years ago. 

His legacy lives on with staff at Old Mill, which has offices in Melksham and Wells, taking part in charity cycle rides in the way Nick did.

Their latest efforts have helped the Rotary Club of Yeovil with a campaign to raise £64,000 to build a six-classroom school in Shree Saraswoti, Nepal, pictured.

In 2015 an earthquake destroyed much of the country’s Sindhupalchok region, including 475 of the 545 schools in the area.

One of the charities heavily involved in the project has been Yeovil-based in a Bag, which provides bags filled with stationery, learning resources and eating utensils for vulnerable and disaster-affected children. It also helps fund bigger projects like the construction of the Shree Saraswoti School.

School in the Bag was Old Mill’s nominated charity for 2016 and 2017. Some 21 staff from Old Mill raised £10,000 for School in a Bag in 2017 by cycling from Cherbourg to Yeovil in memory of Nick Baker.

The ride raised £20,000 in total with half going to Marie Curie – the charity chosen by Nick’s parents – and half to School in the Bag, which then passed on £4,400 to Rotary to start the fundraising for the Shree Saraswoti School.

Nick’s parents Mike and Cilla Baker said they were “delighted and proud to learn that the money raised has been used for something so worthwhile”.

Old Mill has also supported a subsequent fundraising effort over the past few months to raise an additional £3,600 for School in a Bag to provide bags for the school’s first 180 pupils. 

Old Mill associate director and Rotarian Sally Harrison took part in the Nick Baker memorial ride and says she and her colleagues are so pleased to see that the fundraising efforts in Nick’s memory have helped such a worthy cause.

“The communities in Sindhupalchok were already very poor, and then when the earthquake hit, the little they did have was destroyed. The local school was operating out of a shed (pictured),” she said.

“This project has had a hugely positive impact on the area. The children have a wonderful new school to learn in, which has raised the profile of education in the region and resulted in renewed interest and investment from the local government.”

The project has also helped the local economy by employing local people in building and running the school.

Sally added: “When members from Rotary Club of Yeovil and School in a Bag went out there to see the children and give them their bags – which were also put together out there with local partners – the looks on their delighted faces just shows what an important campaign this was.”

Old Mill also has offices in Yeovil and Exeter.



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