A HEARTBROKEN wife has paid a loving tribute to her devoted husband who helped improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest children following his death earlier this month.
Laurence Read, chairman of the Pershore based Waterloo Schools Charity, died on Wednesday, May 14 after losing his year-long battle with cancer aged 77.
The charity, which was set up by Laurence and his wife Susan nine years ago, works with local organisations which represent the citizens of Waterloo – a small town in Sierra Leone – to help them live a better life after the country was engulfed in a
devastating ten-year civil war.
Laurence was eager to set up the charity after previously working in the West African country as a teacher and wanted to give something back after working as as a consultant at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
A thanksgiving service was held in Laurence’s memory on Wednesday (May 28) at St Nicholas Church in the Worcestershire village of Dormston.
Speaking to the Observer, Susan said helping the people of Sierra Leone meant the world to him.
“Laurie was fun, energetic and a very caring man who will be missed deeply by his loving family and everyone who knew him including the children of Sierra Leone,” she said.
“Despite being very sick over the past year his main aim was the charity and helping youngsters live a better life in Sierra Leone, which I think reflects on the type of man he was.
“Just days before he died he was speaking to the headmaster of a Waterloo school talking about his excitement over one of the charity’s next projects coming up.
“I will always remember the walks we did all over the country and especially the Malvern Hills where we learned so much together. He always had a lovely story to tell.”
Before his death, Laurence visited Pershore High School on a number of occasions to tell youngsters about the charity as well as getting them involved with projects.
The school’s headteacher Clive Corbett also paid tribute to Laurence and said his enthusiasm and kindness shone through to the pupils.
“Laurie’s passion for schools in Sierra Leone was evident and seized the imagination of those students in our Interact group,” he said.
“He spoke with them on many occasions and they in turn raised money for the cause. Laurie will be deeply missed.”
A special service in Waterloo to honour Laurence’s life and work in the town is being planned for later this year.
Visit www.waterloo-schools.org for more information about the Waterloo Schools Charity and to make a donation.