Beloved student, 22, who died suddenly on African safari remembered 15 years after charity set up in her honour
- Credit: Archant
More than £500,000 has been raised for a charity set up in memory of a popular 22-year-old medical student who died suddenly while on African safari.
Catherine Bullen, a former Colchester County High School for Girls pupil, was in her fifth year of medical studies at Bristol University when she died from acute gastro enteritis while visiting Oshivelo, in Namibia, in August 2002.
She was planning to go on and work in hospitals in Zambia and Tanzania.
Her parents, Linda and Roger Bullen, later 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, as the Catherine Bullen Foundation reaches its 15th anniversary as a registered charity, it has passed a £500,000 fundraising milestone.
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Mr Bullen, chairman of the trustees, praised the “generous support of the Mersea community”, where the family is from.
He added: “Those donating recognise the valuable work that is being done and because the foundation has low overheads, 99.9% of the money donated goes to its projects, which are personally monitored by us, by twice yearly visits to Namibia, at no cost to the charity.”
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The foundation has primarily focused on the rural communities in the Omaheke region.
Its first project was the refurbishment of a borehole to provide fresh water for Omuhaturua Primary School and Hostel, in the village of Otjimanangombe.
This was followed by the construction of a clinic and the donation of an ambulance to the same village.
Since then, the foundation has constructed dormitories, flush toilets, kitchens and covered dining areas for primary schools and hostels in Eiseb and Otjimanangombe.
In 2014, the Namibian Ministry of Health opened a new clinic in Oshivelo to replace the existing one where Catherine died.
It was named the Catherine Bullen Primary Healthcare Clinic, in recognition of the foundation’s work.
In 2015, Mrs Bullen was made an MBE for services to nursing in Namibia and the foundation’s contributions to the country’s health and education sector.
The foundation’s current project is the construction of a multi-purpose hall at Omuhaturua Primary School and Hostel.
This will provide a venue for school assemblies and other activities, an indoor sports hall for the hostel children in the evening and a hall for the community to hold indoor markets.
To donate, visit the Catherine Bullen Foundation website.
Alternatively, send a cheque made out to the foundation at 15 Colchester Road, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex CO5 8RS.