PUPILS of a Scottish teacher who died while hiking in the United States have raised £16,000 to help build a school in her memory in Africa.
Ruth Ross, 57, fell ill in extreme heat while on a hiking trip in Palm Springs, California, with her 60-year-old husband Chris. The couple, from Hamilton, Lanarkshire, were on the first day of their holiday last June.
Mother-of-three Mrs Ross was a home economics teacher and deputy head at Airdrie Academy in Lanarkshire.
Her parents were the founders of the Vision Africa charity, which helps poor and disadvantaged children in Kenya.
Her daughter Deborah Kimathi, 35, helps runs the charity and pupils at Airdrie Academy spearheaded a campaign for a new education facility in Nairobi in honour of Mrs Ross.
They organised a series of fundraising events including a fashion show and sale, sports day, teachers vs student karaoke, a raffle and Christmas door decorating.
It was announced at the school’s prize giving ceremony that they had raised a final total of £16,000.
Ruth’s husband Chris, son Matt and Vision Africa Board Member Nancy Wilson attended the event and were presented with a cheque.
Mr Ross told pupils he was overwhelmed by their efforts.
He said: “I was absolutely blown away by the presentation of the gift to Vision Africa – the sum of £16,000 is an incredible total, and bears wonderful testimony to the love and respect you had for Ruth.
“I am immensely proud of what you have done, and I know Ruth would have been too.
“Ruth always believed in and worked towards ways of changing the lives of young people for the better, to ensure they had and made the most of every opportunity in life.
“What you have all achieved through this year’s efforts reflect that so beautifully, and the money raised for Vision Africa will help hundreds and thousands of young Kenyans achieve things they may never have thought possible, will allow them the possibility of escaping the traps that poverty holds for so many young people, will allow them to have a future where they can make choices.
“The facility that Vision Africa will help to build with this donation will serve generations of young people for many years to come, so once again, Thank you, both personally and from Vision Africa.”
Ian Fannon, Airdrie Academy headteacher, said: “We decided that the school would honour Ruth’s memory by dedicating one year of fundraising to support Vision Africa’s work in Kenya.
“We are proud to establish links and support Vision Africa this year and remember all that Mrs Ross did for Airdrie Academy, its pupils and staff.
“Our target as a school was to raise over £10,000 for the charity over the course of the academic year.”