THE Stourbridge News’ life-changing Well of Life Appeal almost tasted award success this week after being 'Highly Commended' at the prestigious Midlands Media Awards.

After raising more than £12,350 to build a lifeline water pump and irrigation system in Gambia, Africa, the appeal narrowly missed out on the top spot in the Campaign of the Year category at Thursday’s award ceremony in Birmingham.

But thanks to the campaign, which was held in conjunction with Ridgewood High School’s Project Gambia initiative, more than 4,500 villagers now have access to safe-to-drink water because of the purpose built well.

Award judges said of the campaign: “We liked the way this campaign was able to bring people together to raise money for a great cause.

“This campaign was very well presented and managed to raise an impressive £12,000.”

The News’ chief reporter Bev Holder was also nominated in the award’s Weekly Journalist of the Year category.

Peter John, Stourbridge News editor, said: “I am so proud of the Stourbridge team as well as the many members of the community who put in hours of hard work to make our appeal a success.

“Being highly commended is a great achievement, but awards pale into insignificance compared to the effect the campaign has had on the thousands of villagers in Gambia, who, without the support of the people of Stourbridge, would not have that life-changing well.”

Project Gambia was set up by the Wollaston school in 2007, with pupils, staff and members of the community heading out to the African country each year to experience first-hand life in the developing country.

In March 2017, student Hannah Williams, an award-winning creative artist, will be one of the students jetting out with the project.

And to help raise funds for the trip she is staging the exhibition ‘Art From a 15-year-old’ in Norfolk this week where she will sell off her drawings and paintings.

The exhibition runs at Greyfriars Art Space, in Kings Lynn, until Saturday (October 29).