A MORAY primary school pupil in the United Kingdom is set to cycle the equivalent of the width of Uganda to raise funds to send books to Kampala.
Nine-year-old Grayson Brown, from Fochabers, will cycle 486 kilometres to raise money to help cover the cost of sending 2500 books to Bunono Central Primary School near the southwestern Ugandan village of Kisizi.
The pallet of books will be sent as part of a larger shipment to the country by Books Abroad – a Fyvie-based charity that sends thousands of books from the north of Scotland to less fortunate communities around the globe.
Grayson, who is P5 at Milne’s Primary, decided to send books to the school – where him and his mother Christine sponsor a young girl named Catherine – after finding out that reading material is not readily available for young learners.
Grayson said: “I saw how unable they are to get books and I wanted to help with that.”
Mother Christine Ure added: “We raised money for the school last year when Grayson climbed Ben Nevis, but he decided he wanted to give everyone a book too.
“There are 1000 kids at the school and he thought they should all get a book so they can be told a bedtime story.”
The shipment is likely to be sent to Uganda at the start of 2024, giving Grayson a good few months to cycle his 486 kilometres (301 miles).
Asked how long it will take him to cycle that distance, Grayson said: “Probably more than a few hours!”
The cost of the shipment is in the region of £8000 – made more expensive due to the fact there is no port nearby.
Grayson is aiming to raise £500, roughly the cost of a pallet of 2500 books, and is also trying to recoup the books for Books Abroad.
Christine added: “We want to collect good quality children’s books that people no longer need.
“Grayson is gathering as many as he can so he can help Books Abroad recoup what he’s sending out to Uganda.”
In addition to his cycle, Grayson – who is a big-time reader himself – is hosting a stall at Milne’s Primary’s sports day to collect books, with the support of the school’s head teacher Kim Karam.
Books Abroad was founded by chairman Vinay Ruparelia, one of Banffshire’s Depute Lord Lieutenant’s, who himself fled Idi Amin’s Ugandan regime as a refugee in 1972.
In 41 years, the charity has delivered more than four million books to around 3850 schools, colleges and libraries around the world.
The charity, which has one part-time employee and 38 volunteers, raises around one-third of its income through a second-hand shop in Banff.
A container of 100,000 was shipped to India in the middle of May, with Grayson invited along to see what a shipment that large looks like.
Mr Ruparelia said: “Grayson is a determined youngster and has done some great work with his collections and fundraising.
“We have earmarked a container for the school in the new year.”
To donate and follow Grayson’s cycling progress, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/graysoncyclesuganda
Books can be dropped off at 58 South Street, Fochabers, or collection can be arranged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Books Abroad, get in touch with email@example.com.