AFRICAN animals, face painting and fun and games will be the all the rage this weekend as fundraising for the Well of Life appeal hits Stourbridge town centre.

Between 9am and 5pm on Saturday, May 9, the Ryemarket Shopping Centre will host a special events day to add much needed funds to the Stourbridge News-led appeal.

Our appeal, in conjunction with Ridgewood High School’s Project Gambia initiative, aims to raise £10,000 for a water pump and irrigation system to serve the drought-stricken Gambian village of Sintet.

On Saturday, the town centre shopping centre will be transformed into a Gambian wonderland featuring entertainment inside and outside the precinct.

African themed food, animals, stalls and music will help set the scene for customers to get in the fundraising spirit.

Adult and child tombolas, a name the bear competition, charity shops, games including hook a duck, as well as African drumming, singing and dancing are among the activities that will feature.

All activities taking place on Saturday will help raise cash for the appeal, with the High Street branch of Barclays promising to offer up to £1,000 of event day match funding.

Kelley Dyas, centre manager, said: “The event will have various stands throughout the centre and offer a real fun atmosphere for our shoppers, while helping to raise lots of money for the brilliant appeal.”

Pupils from Ridgewood High School, many of whom took part in this year’s Project Gambia visit to Africa, will be running stalls, performing live on stage and collecting money throughout the day.

Bev Hodt, assistant headteacher and Project Gambia leader, said: “We really appreciate the support of both Stourbridge News and the Ryemarket Shopping Centre in trying to make the event day a success.

“All the students coming along on Saturday are really looking forward to raising money for the appeal.”

More than 50 students from the school visited Africa in late March as part of this year’s Project Gambia initiative, where they experienced firsthand what life is like in a developing country.

You can still make a donation to our appeal online or by visiting the Stourbridge News offices.

To make a donation online visit or text PROG15 and your amount, either £10, £5, £4, £3, £2, £1, to 70070.

Cash, cheques or in person donations can be brought to the Stourbridge News offices, at St John’s House, St John’s Road, Stourbridge, Dy8 1EH.

Cheques need to be made payable to Project Gambia Trust Ridgewood, and you’ll need to write Well off Life Appeal on the back.

If you are carrying out an event to help raise funds for the Well of Life Appeal please call our reporter Dan Sharp on 01384 358223, or email with details.