Dun­beg teenager to spend months help­ing in Africa

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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