Friday, 8th December 2017

A charitable fund which operates through South Tyneside College is celebrating a fundraising drive which is helping female musicians in Zimbabwe to play the drums.

Inspired by the Dr Winterbottom Charitable Fund’s aims, customers at the Black Horse pub, in West Boldon, South Tyneside, donated to an initiative to buy a kit to encourage girls in the African state to play.

They are now thrilled to learn that the drums have arrived safely at the Youth Contact Centre in the town of Bulawayo – and quickly been put to good use.

The fund, established last year and based at South Tyneside College, helps students and good causes at home but sometimes also those abroad.

It enjoys strong links with the Youth Contact Centre, an education establishment, where it has previously donated instruments and educational goods.

Black Horse customers raised £370, a figure that was doubled by the fund, allowing for two kits to be bought.

Sarah Reid, who co-owns the Black Horse with her partner Pete Zulu, a member of 1980s band The Toy Dolls, said: “It’s fantastic that the drums are in place.

“It is really good to know that the kindness and generosity of people in South Tyneside has led to such a positive initiative happening so far away.”

Les Watson, a former chair of governors at South Tyneside College who helped found the fund, added: “This just shows the good that can be done when people support such a wonderful project.

“The goodwill of people at the pub and at the college has made a real difference to the lives of young musicians in Bulawayo.

“It’s great to know that the drums are being used, and hopefully they will help these people enjoy careers as musicians.”

The drums were donated to the Bluez Café, an organisation which supports disadvantaged individuals and groups and runs programmes for girl music artists.

Based at the Youth Contact Centre, officials say there is only one professional female drummer in Zimbabwe but that many more girls want to learn.

The charitable fund is named after Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom, who was born in South Shields in 1766.

He graduated in medicine from Glasgow University and made his mark working in Sierra Leone as a physician.

In almost four years, he treated the local population and undertook research into tropical diseases, making significant progress in understanding the symptoms of sleeping sickness.

He returned to South Shields in 1796, where he practiced as a GP for 27 years, retiring aged 58.

From then until his death in 1859, aged 93, he made his most lasting contribution to local life through charitable and educational work.

A bequest made by him in 1837 led to the eventual establishment of South Shields Marine School, which is today part of South Tyneside College, in 1861.

Domestically, the fund enables students to study and progress effectively, form their own businesses, or helps them through times of financial difficulties.

It has also established links with organisations overseas to assist them and individuals, when possible.

More information on the fund is available by emailing or calling 0191 427 3717.