A Bradford teacher’s passion and commitment for supporting a Gambian school will be remembered forever with a new building opened in her memory.
The Tracey Askham House will provide accommodation for staff at Minteh Kundeh Lower Basic School in The Gambia, the sister school to Immanuel College, Thackley, where the popular law teacher taught for more than a decade.
Mrs Askham’s four children joined pupils and teachers to paint and officially open the new £6,000 building in the African country, which Mrs Askham had enthusiastically fundraised for.
Her eldest daughter, Chantelle Askham, said: “Over here my mum was very high maintenance, her hair was always done, her nails were immaculate, she was very much a little lady.
“It was the complete opposite to anything we have over here.
“She was so exited to go all the time, it was one of the things that she’s been most passionate about.”
Bradford University student Chantelle was joined by her sisters, Victoria, 23; Bethany, 19; brother Jack, 17 and Mrs Askham’s brother, David Shepherd, on the week-long visit last month, as well as students and school staff, including teacher Sam White.
They slept on the school’s concrete floor with mosquito nets and no electricity or water as they worked to finish the building which was officially opened by the school’s head teacher. A plaque was placed outside.
“Before we started this project, the teachers’ quarters were just terrible,” Miss White said. “It was the rainy season and half of it had fallen down so whilst it was falling down and we were building it, teachers had to go and live with students.”
Mrs Askham, who was described as “the heart of the school”, died last August after a tragic accident in a supermarket car park when she became trapped under her car when it was struck by another vehicle.
The 47-year-old had been helping to raise money for the teachers’ quarters for three-and-a-half years.
Chantelle said: “It was very emotional to see it finished. We went out there and it was a building, it had been built, but it didn’t look anything like it did when we’d finished it. Within a few hours, it went from being a building to being something so much more.
“She would have loved it.”
Jack said he was proud to see the project finished: “I was quite relieved that it was complete and that there was something there to remember her by.”
The school’s next target is to raise around £5,000 to put a roof on an existing classroom, repair and furnish it.