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Parents of daughter who died on safari start to build hall in Africa in her memory

PUBLISHED: 12:26 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 30 April 2019

Linda Bullen starts digging the foundations of the multi-purpose hall with builder Riaan Potieger, his workers and the hostel children looking on. Picture: CATHERINE BULLEN FOUNDATION

Linda Bullen starts digging the foundations of the multi-purpose hall with builder Riaan Potieger, his workers and the hostel children looking on. Picture: CATHERINE BULLEN FOUNDATION

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The parents of a woman who tragically died while on safari have started a poignant project to build a community hall in Africa in her memory.

Linda Bullen nursing at the Catherine Bullen Primary Healthcare Clinic at Oshivelo. Picture: CATHERINE BULLEN FOUNDATIONLinda Bullen nursing at the Catherine Bullen Primary Healthcare Clinic at Oshivelo. Picture: CATHERINE BULLEN FOUNDATION

Catherine Bullen, a former Colchester County High School for Girls pupil, died of gastroenteritis when she was aged just 22 while visiting Oshivelo in Namibia.

Since the University of Bristol student's death in 2002, her parents Linda and Roger Bullen – based in West Mersea – have launched a foundation in their beloved daughter's memory to raise funds for projects in rural Namibia which fight poverty and improve the nation's infrastructure.

And now, on a recent visit to the country, the couple have helped to dig the foundations of a new multi-purpose hall at Omuhaturua Primary School Hostel, in the village of Otjimanangombe.

Speaking at the launch of the project last year, Mr Bullen said of his daughter: “She was an outstanding student at Bristol University and the loss of someone so talented affects everybody.

“We decided that we had to do something positive for her.”

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The hall will provide a venue for school assemblies which are currently held outside, come rain or shine, as well as a place for the hostel children to go in the evening after darkness to play indoor sport such as netball, volleyball and table tennis.

It will also provide a venue for the neighbouring community to hold meetings and an indoor covered market at the weekends.

Completion for the £48,000 project is scheduled for next September.

During a nine-week visit to Namibia, the pair also visited Good Hope Primary School - where pupils of St Mary's Senior Girls School in Colchester are raising funds to buy two large electrical industrial cooking pots for the hostel kitchen after making the foundation the school's charity for the year.

With Mrs Bullen also being a registered nurse in Namibia, the pair also volunteered at busy clinics in the country which treat patients for a variety of conditions.

The couple are set to tell more about their work during an event on Friday, June 21 at the MICA Community Centre in West Mersea.

Tickets to A Namibian Journey are £10 each from the MICA centre or buy phoning 01206 383368.

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