The locals at The Old Royal Oak in Knaresborough have got behind one of their favourite barmaids to help her fund a volunteering trip to Malawi.
Emily Hawley, a part time barmaid at the popular pub, is planning to travel to Malawi this summer to work with orphaned children.
The 18-year-old was so moved after seeing the plight of the children on a TV documentary she decided she wanted to help, and booked a flight to Africa.
She said: “I have always wanted to work with children and want to become a primary school teacher so I was really moved and wanted to help orphans in Malawi. They haven’t got anyone else.
“It is going to be quite out of my comfort zone, I still live at home and I have never had that experience but will be living with people I don’t know for a month and working with different communities.”
She added: “Everyone has been really supportive, a few people have tried to talk me out of it but only out of concern for how I will cope!
“The regulars have been great, they have helped with fundraising ideas and one local has been selling rafffle tickets around town to raise money for me, which is so nice.
“It makes me feel less worried about it, knowing I have all of this support.”
While in Malawi, Emily will help to provide food, shelter and education for orphans and vulnerable children, constructing and renovating crumbling classrooms and feeding centres - mixing cement, laying mud bricks, plastering and carrying water with the local community.
The locals at The Old Royal Oak have pledged money to help and customers were invited to make suggestions on how to raise more money.
Landlord Mark Lee said: “She is a lovely girl and is very popular with the locals. She is very caring and I think everybody is proud of her for doing this. She is only 18 so it will be a big challenge for her.”
One suggestion from customers was to have a Dine with Dee night and local chef Dee Morrow, known as Dee Spice, has kindly volunteered to cook a traditional Sri-Lankan meal at the Old Royal Oak on the night of Tuesday, March 18.
Tickets are available from the Old Royal Oak and the evening, which will start at 7.30pm, is already proving to be popular.
So far Emily has raised more than £500. If anyone would like to donate they can do so by calling into The Old Royal Oak or visiting the website www.justgiving.com/Emily-Hawley.
For more details contact pub landlord Mark Lee on 01423 865 880.