‘My perspective on life will be totally different’

Toby Parrott has arrange a concert in St Wilfrid's church, George Street, Buckland to raise money for his trip to Malaysia to do conservation work.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (121365-179)
Toby Parrott has arrange a concert in St Wilfrid's church, George Street, Buckland to raise money for his trip to Malaysia to do conservation work. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121365-179)
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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When Toby Parrott heard about the plight of poor people living overseas during a school assembly, he decided to help.

So the 15-year-old signed up to become part of a team which will carry out conservation work in one of the world’s most populated countries in July.

The teenager, who is a student at St John’s College in Grove Road, Southsea, will be joined by 29 others as they help out a number of poor communities in Kuala Lumpar, the capital city of Malaysia.

As part of the group’s two-week trip, Toby and the other volunteers will experience what life is like for people who struggle to survive whilst those in other parts of the city live in extreme wealth.

During their stay they will give locals moral support, play an active role in building projects, teach basic English and trek through a jungle.

Whilst the students are out there they will have to fend for themselves and buy their own food supplies.

Toby, of Woodville Drive, Old Portsmouth, wanted to sign up to the trip, organised by World Challenge, because he wanted to make a difference to other people’s lives.

‘I’ve never done anything like this before,’ he says.

‘I feel that this is my first step in giving back to the world and at the same time I’m excited to be travelling to a completely different part of the world.

‘One of my goals in life is to travel to all the continents, and considering that I’m still young it’s amazing that I’m going to begin doing that.

‘I think by the end of the trip my perspective on life is going to be completely different.

‘We take a lot of things for granted, things that a lot of people in the world so desperately need and can’t have.’

To take part in the trip, Toby needs to raise £1,479 – the cost of flights and accommodation.

In March, he helped to organise a music concert at St Wilfrid’s Church in Portsmouth that raised £150 towards the total.

Extra cash was raised when Toby took part in a six-mile run at Exbury Gardens, Exbury, earlier in the year.

Toby’s proud mum Helen Parrott, 39, says: ‘It’s just amazing to see him raising most of the money he needs all by himself.

‘He has sacrificed his pocket money and going out to raise the total he needs to go on the trip.

She adds: ‘As a parent you worry about your children going somewhere completely different. But I think the experience is really going to be so beneficial to him.’