SLIDESHOW: Harrogate children travel to Uganda in 'mind blowing' trip

Backrow L-R: Highfield students Rory Moore, Holly Bletcher, Honey Middleton, Luas Broadberry, Sam McMillan and Arthur Bradwell
Backrow L-R: Highfield students Rory Moore, Holly Bletcher, Honey Middleton, Luas Broadberry, Sam McMillan and Arthur Bradwell

Pupils, parents and teachers have described their experience as 'pioneering' and 'mind-blowing' after returning to Harrogate from a trip to Uganda.

Six children, aged 10-11, from Highfield Prep School took the opportunity of a lifetime when they travelled to a community, worlds apart from their hometown, in Bombo, Uganda.

For some time now, the school has supported a sponsorship scheme where Bombo children and their families are helped by the families of Highfield students.

Flying out for just short of two weeks, the pupils and their parents met the families they sponsor and children from Highfield's partner school, the Bombo School.

The trip was the first to ever be undertaken by the school with such a young group of children, but for trip leader and teacher Andrew Hart this served to make the trip even more of a success.

He said: "It was very interesting to see how they react because I've never done one with kids quite so young but they got on absolutely fabulously and in some ways because they were so young they didn't go with the preconceptions that older children might have gone with.

"They were so much more open and just threw themselves into all the situations which was brilliant.

"When we arrived with the kids at the school they were just straight in as they would be when we put them with the younger kids in our playground. They had no issues or worries they were just straight in there getting stuck in playing with them and leading activities."

For one pupil, Holly Bletcher, the best part of the trip was meeting the children from The Bombo School.

Holly said: "They were just so happy to see you and they just kept on hugging you all the time. They were a bit younger than us, the oldest was about eight and the youngest was about three but we still made some friends. I was really sad to leave."

At some points the trip proved to be quite moving, including the visit to one Bombo family where an elderly grandmother had to look after 10 children in a two bedroom house.

Seeing their fight to afford an education, one Highfield student, Honey Middleton, asked her dad if she could sponsor one of the girls using her pocket money.

Honey said: "It made me want to sponsor her because they all really wanted to go to school and her twin was going to go to school so I think she might have wanted a friend there as well."

Honey's dad Stephen was also inspired by the trip which he admitted was not what he had expected.

Mr Middleton said: "Yes there was poverty but there is such a strong sense of community there are no beggars or people asking you for things, it was mind blowing, not what I expected."