Dunbeg teenager to spend months helping in Africa
A 19-YEAR- OLD rugby player from Dunbeg has been selected to volunteer in Africa for five months, writes David McPhee.
Lewis McFarlane was chosen from a pool of applicants that spanned the world. During his time abroad, Lewis will work with the rugby charity Bhubesi Pride Foundation to help approximately 3,000 children and members of staff develop both their rugby and life skills.
However, the former Dunbeg Primary and Oban High School pupil needs to raise thousands of pounds to fund his trip.
He has set up a Just Giving page and has organised a number of fundraising events, including a quiz night at Oban Lorne Rugby Club tomorrow, Friday November 4, from 7.30pm. He also plans to cycle 60 miles around Loch Awe the following day in order to raise money and awareness of the charity.
Lewis, who has played for Oban Lorne rugby club since he was 13, has already racked up hundreds of hours of voluntary work.
In a letter, Lewis wrote: ‘ When I was 14 years old I approached Atlantis Leisure in Oban to see if I could undertake voluntary work there. They agreed and I carried out over 200 hours’ work: coaching, mentoring and motivating young people in various sports.’
Because of this, Lewis was selected to carry the baton at the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
In 2015, the teenager started a modern apprenticeship (MA) with Scottish Rugby. During the 12-month placement, he regularly attended weekend training courses in Edinburgh and spent his time during the week visiting and coaching at various schools in and around Oban.
Lewis continued: ‘I would coach young people on how to play rugby, understand sportsmanship and rules. I also volunteered my time outside the MA on week nights and weekends to help train players who were interested in rugby.
‘I am currently saving hard, carrying out sponsored events and asking local companies to help support me in this venture. All monies raised will help to cover the various costs involved. My time in Africa will be non-profit and is voluntary. I intend to leave for Kenya in February 2017.’
Lewis’s mum, Deirdre MacFarlane, said: ‘I’m so excited and so proud. I’m just dead chuffed that he is managing to do this – not that I won’t get upset when he leaves and will be concerned when he is away. But that is what it’s all about – finding his feet and getting some experience.’
Lewis alongside the former Scotland rugby captain Chris Paterson.