AN 18-strong cohort have returned jubilant after travelling over 6,000 miles to complete their biggest, most ambitious exchange visit to date.

Teachers and parents from Egerton Primary School were joined by members of the business community, Multiflex Coaches, and two teenagers on a recent trip to Egerton Primary School in Njoro, Kenya.

The task force got to work as soon as they landed on African soil and managed to squeeze a whole host of achievements into their short trip – including painting two classrooms, teaching, sports and baking.

Furthermore, thanks to the generosity of the Knutsford Rotary Club and Barclays, the school now benefits from a fully fledged electricity supply and is in possession of 10 laptops.

Egerton Primary Headteacher Alison Hooper was one of the teachers to make the trip.

“This was an unforgettable trip and on a new level compared to previous visits,” she said.

“I delivered lessons that I had already delivered to my Year 6 class. The focus was the Millennium Development Goal of achieving free primary education for every child in the world by 2015.

“The children are so eager to learn and all of this will just make it that bit easier.”

Both schools were founded by the Egerton family of Tatton Park; the Knutsford school in 1893 by Lord William Egerton and the other in 1939 in Njoro, Kenya by Lord Maurice Egerton.

The partnership was established in 2005 when both schools discovered each other by chance. Sam Youd, the then Head gardener of Tatton Park, was planning a visit to Maurice Egerton’s Castle in Nakuru when Egerton

Primary School was mentioned as a school he had founded.
Since then, Alison has developed strong links between the schools through project work and exchange visits and the community groups and businesses have been keen to offer their help.

Knutsford Rotary Club has been involved since the partnership’s inception. In the past, it has helped establish a fully-functioning football field and also built a kitchen facility for staff.

Most recently, the club made a successful bid for a Rotary Foundation grant and the combined funds were used to install a complete electricity supply throughout the school.

Rotarian Derek Sutcliffe, who spearheaded the application bid, said: “The way out of poverty is education.

“We wanted to do something that will have a lasting benefit and be sustainable – educational projects such as these are far-reaching.

“We are always helping with these sorts of projects, in our community and internationally, and will continue to do so future.”

Lindsay Occleston and Keith Birkett, from Roberts Bakery in Northwich, were also part of the Kenyan team.

The pair taught 196 children how to bake bread for the very first time and shipped the baking equipment all the way from Cheshire.

“This was a truly amazing and unforgettable journey for everyone involved,” said Lindsay, who is also secretary of the Egerton Schools’ Foundation.

“It was just so rewarding to enrich their lives with a very memorable experience.”