The William Stewart Foundation

Current News

A sad time for the Foundation

We are sad to announce the death of William Stewart. If you would like to make a donation to The William Stewart Memorial Fund in aid of the Foundation, please visit our fundraiser.

And here you can read a message from William’s daughter Mary.

The Joy of Water

The 18th November 2020 was a spectacular day at Ibuluma – it was as much of a red-letter day as when the lights were switched on at the end of last year but will have much more beneficial impact on the health of the community.

In August, the existing borehole, some distance away from the Centre, started to dry up as it does at that time of year. And so we decided to raise funds for our own well at a depth far enough below the water table level so that the community could have water all year round and not have to run health risks from the river.

William became Aussie Will – cycling on his exercise bike to his birthplace in Melbourne. He hit the headlines in local and national media, was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent and was also interviewed for our website. You can also see the newspaper reports.

We started a Crowdfunder, and organised a Race for Water at which, during November, folk could run, walk or cycle 5k or 10k.

The fundraising exceeded all our expectations and by good fortune Levison came across a team of well diggers more local, thus cutting a lot of the costs. It was decided that enough money had been raised to enable the well to be dug this year, before the rainy season made the work an impossibility, and so it was all hands to the deck.

It took only six weeks from start to finish and now the Resource Centre has water – our own clean water – we managed to beat the rains, thanks to a great team of tireless well installers, plumbers, villagers and, of course, at the heart of everything, Levison – coordinating all the works, getting supplies, and overcoming problems, the main one being an unforeseen shortage of cement which caused a headache. Levison will not be beaten and managed to buy it although at a distance away. And all the time, the clouds gathered and rains threatened – it was a bit hair-raising but in the end the weather was good to us.

The well is at a depth of 50 metres, lined with cemented bricks. It was decided to have a water tank atop a tower and three standpipes rather than have just one single tap at the borehole, to make it easier and safer for the community, in particular the children and also to make it easier for irrigation of the crops.

Here, in this short video compilation, the joy which water has brought to the Ibuluma community can be seen and heard. Some of the adults said that it was another miracle. Yes, they do occur but this one happened because of great teamwork, friendship, and support across continents and because of such generosity of spirit from so many.

And that spirit has been very evident in The Race for Water. Sarah’s sister, Joanne, facing a life-changing operation at the beginning of December, walked 200km and raised a very substantial sum. Team Holst, Paul and his two boys Louis and Hugo, rowing, walking and running every single day throughout November and who are carrying on until New Year’s Eve, and whose fundraising end result, tremendous already, will be kindly match-funded by Barclays.

The Foundation’s very own Team Tom – Tom Mcinulty, his partner Paul Warne and Tom’s guide dog, Toby – is running, walking and cycling on a tandem every day and carrying on into December, too.

The Munro Baggers – Mary’s son William and his girlfriend Leigh-Ann – are bagging munros – climbing to the summit of mountains over 3000 ft – there are 282, and so theirs will be an effort without limit of time.

To each and every one of our champions, thank you so much.

We are currently evaluating the next phase of the water project, which will be to have shower blocks with sinks – these, too, will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the community.

Our Crowdfunder is still running – no fees are charged as this is COVID-19 related. Visit our Fundraiser