Villagers in a remote part of Nepal are to receive a much-needed hospital thanks to the efforts of a Beeford farmer.
Semi-retired farmer Ian Banks has so far raised £25,000 to pay for the construction of a hospital in the mountain village of Chulung, where he takes groups of people trekking each year.
He said: “When you first go to Nepal you expect to have a nice holiday and a trek with fantastic views, but when you return home your lasting memory is the hospitality and kindness of the people, and you feel you want to reciprocate and do something for them.”
Part of the cash has been raised through the sale of Nepalese crafts and hand-made clothing which Ian sells from his home (see below for details of his sale on this week!).
He has also staged Nepalese evenings featuring traditional food and dance, assisted by Gurkhas from RAF Leconfield (before they were disbanded).
The hospital will serve several thousands people over a wide area, providing help to woman during pregnancy as well as dental care and health education, among many other things.
But it is still not completely finished due to torrential rain destroying roads which has prevented building materials getting through.
And around £5k is still needed to complete the building, to stock it with equipment and medicines, and to continue the training of nurses.
“It’s a bit of a hand-to-mouth situation in the sense that as soon as they get a pot of money they will do a bit more,” said Ian, who originally went trekking with friends and neighbours around eight years ago, and now takes groups from all over the UK each year (a venture which has also raised cash for the hospital).
Ian is now inviting people to join him on his next Nepal visit, a three-week adventure sometime between mid-October and late-November 2015.
He said: “The 12-day trek will take us up to 4000 meters, where we should have great views of the Himalayas, including Everest and some of the high mountains of Tibet.
“After that, there’ll be ample opportunity for sightseeing and visiting some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, also for Christmas shopping and generally chilling out!”
Meanwhile, his latest sale of Nepalese crafts is taking place at his home at Dunnington Grange, near Beeford (postcode YO25 8EF), each day from January 2 to January 11, between 10am and 4pm.
On sale will be a variety of hats, gloves and scarves, all made from Yak wool, as well as handbags, purses, pencil cases and greeting cards, among other things.
“The clothes are extremely warm,” said Ian. “I’m hoping the cold snap might last a few more days to help sales!”
As well as hot and cold drinks and light refreshments, there’ll also be the opportunity to make donations. Ian can be reached by email at email@example.com (His house is the only property on that postcode).