THREE months after the launch of the Stourbridge News Well of Life appeal, the first stage of installing a life-saving water pump can begin.

In March, the News teamed up with Ridgewood High School to launch the appeal to raise £10,000 for a water pump to serve the Gambian village of Sintet.

From a number of kind-hearted donations from our readers and the event day in the Ryemarket Shopping Centre, we have now raised more than £6,000 – enough to drill the borehole which will be used to extract water from the ground.

Last year, a village well was the scene of a tragedy when a boy fell in and was killed, putting the vital water source out of use.

The installation of a new water pump and irrigation system to service the village will help stop such a tragedy from happening again.

The Well of Life appeal has been part of the Wollaston school’s continuing Project Gambia initiative which has helped develop farming in the drought-hit West African village.

Bev Hodt, assistant Ridgewood headteacher and Project Gambia leader, said: “We are looking at drilling a 40-metre borehole which will cost in the region of £3,000 and this needs to be in before the rainy season starts later in June.

“The borehole is to be drilled anytime now. We sent the first lot of money at the end of last week to enable to work to start as soon as possible.

“We have been advised by Dr Ian Cole, an expert in solar energy at Loughborough University, that the 40-metre hole will be sufficient for the solar powered pump that will be fitted later on to provide 20,000 litres of water a day.

“Ian travelled with us to Sintet in March and following discussions with the farmers, and his own research, he determined the best place for the borehole to be drilled.

“Once the appeal raises £10,000 we can then make arrangements to fit the pump and Ian will travel to The Gambia to oversee the work.”

The villagers have this year been left short of water and crops have not been able to grow after an increasingly dryer rainy season.

But the new water pump will allow the crops to stay watered during even the toughest of dry seasons.

Karamo Tamba, one of the villagers in Sintet, said: “We are so grateful for the support of Stourbridge News, Ridgewood High School and the people of Stourbridge for what they are doing for us.

“We have really struggled this year and are in a desperate situation. We have had very little rain and so many of the crops we were dependent through the dry season on have not grown.

“It means so much to us that people like yourselves have seen our need and have responded to it.”

Even though the first stage of the installation process has begun, we still have a very long way to go before we reach our £10,000 target and the water pump can be bought and installed.

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.

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.