Life-changing school trip

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Six students had the trip of a lifetime when they visited poverty-stricken communities in India.

The year nine girls and teacher Vicky Whitlock from St Edmund's Catholic School travelled to Goa last month to experience first-hand a special needs school, a children's home, an old people's home and a poor village.

Their all-expenses paid trip came courtesy of Pompey legend Linvoy Primus' charity Faith and Football, after winning its annual Enterprise Challenge against 43 other teams with the sale of home-made candles.

Miss Whitlock, head of art and design technology, said: 'It was hard to see such poverty all around, and it made us all realise just how lucky we are to have so many things that we can take for granted.

'But the girls were brilliant with all the people they met – they were kind, caring and friendly and they made everyone smile.

'The girls took nightdresses for the residents in the old ladies' home, gave food to the old men who are stricken with poverty, and donated rice to the poor people in the village.

'They visited an Indian family in a makeshift house that five people had to share, who all lived and slept in one room – it was heart wrenching.'

Linvoy visited St Edmund's ahead of the trip for an inspirational pep talk on the work his charity had done to raise the standard of living in that area. The school donated money to the Mustard Seed Ministries – Faith and Football's partners in Goa – which was used to buy new clothes for the children in the Little Angels home.

Year nine pupil Lily O'Flynn said: 'I still can't get over how privileged I am to have gone to Goa. India has changed my life. I'm so lucky to have all the things that I do.'

Millie Jeram, 15, said: 'The trip was absolutely amazing – it made me appreciate what I have and how lucky I am.

'It has opened my eyes about the world today.'