Hannah goes the distance

Hannah Message (centre) with her dad and friend Nicola Jewitt
Hannah Message (centre) with her dad and friend Nicola Jewitt

A PLUCKY teenager who was born prematurely has taken part in a triathlon to raise cash for poverty-stricken children in Uganda.

Hannah Message chose to support the Hailsham-based charity Quicken Trust and took part in the specially-designed sponsored event with friend Nicola Jewitt.

The 17-year-old, who is disabled, used special equipment to walk one mile, cycle five miles and swim 500 metres.

Hannah, a student at St Bede’s in The Dicker, will be following up her challenge with a visit to Kabubbu in Uganda in October as part of a team of volunteer workers.

The Quicken Trust - which supports the community of Kabubbu in helping to transform the lives of those devastated by poverty, malaria and AIDS - asks all volunteers to do some fundraising before they go as well as paying for the trip.

Proud dad Jonathan, who had the triathlon idea, said, “She took an hour and 11 minutes to walk the mile along Old Town Hastings seafront, 58 minutes to cycle the five miles on a flat track along Hythe Esplanade and 50 minutes to swim the 500 metres in Crowhurst Park Leisure Club and did a couple of extra laps of honour.

“We especially thank Centre Club Manager Gary Hunnisett for making their pool available.

“We are immensely proud of her and she showed the sort of determination she puts into everything she does. She was going to succeed.”

Hannah added, “I wanted to raise £600. Now I am on target to reach more than £1,500 which is just great.”

The teenager will be heading to Kabubbu with mum Jenny, who will working with some of the elderly in the village.

Hannah became close friends with a student from the village, Winnie, who studied a St Bede’s on a scholarship between 2008 and 2011. Winnie is back in Uganda training to be a nurse and is unaware of Hannah’s trip.

Hannah said, “Hopefully we can keep it a secret. It will be great to see her again, She will be so surprised.”

Quicken Trust Founder Geoff Booker added, “Hannah has done something very special and shown great determination and courage in achieving her goal.

“We work with hundreds of young people both in the UK and Uganda and never cease to be impressed with the dedication and determination they show when seeking to achieve something special. Hannah has done this for the orphans of Kabubbu. She should be proud of her achieve-ment.”