Concert raises €8,000 for Kenyan school
A concert to raise funds for a Kenyan school founded by a Wexford priest raised more than €8,000.
The fund-raiser, which took place at Clayton Whites Hotel featured The Wedges, the stars of BBC Wales and theatre fame, and Wexford's own band Corner Boy.
The groups behind the charity concert are Sport for Africa, which has been fund raising for educational projects in the poorest areas of Africa for 16 years, and the Bobleo Trust, run by Wexford priest Fr Leo Staples. Fr Staples, from Wygram and Piercestown, has been living and working in a parish, about the size of Wexford, in Kenya for 65 years. Both groups have fund-raised tirelessly to provide education in for children in the poorest regions of Africa. Both share the mutual belief that education is the most powerful gift and investment that can be made in poor regions. There was a strong family connection both on and off the stage on the night, with Fr Staples' grand nephew, his name sake Leo Jnr playing in Corner Boy and another nephew, Wexford councillor Frank Staples compering the event.
Organisers said more than 250 people attended the fund raiser, although a lot of people who had supported it by buying tickets, did not turn out on the night. Despite this, it was a great success and generated a significant amount of money.
Fr Staples is now in his 91st year and was ordained in Kiltegan in 1951. He arrived in Kenya, amongst the Pokot people, after his ordination and immediately went about learning the Pokot language and setting up a new Catholic parish.
He built the parish church and produced liturgical books in the Pokot language. He has, over the years, opened 38 out-station churches, four dispensaries, 34 primary schools and two secondary boarding schools.
He has provided inspiration to people in Kenya and Ireland all his life, not least to his nephew and namesake, Leo, who is bassist with Corner Boy. Sport for Africa and the Fr Staples Bobleo Trust would like to acknowledge all performers and organisations who have waived their fee for this worthy cause.