A Northumberland student has done a 20km walk to raise funds to teach English in Senegal.

Aimee Aston (18) who is studying for her A-levels at Ponteland High School, walked 20km from Tyne Riverside Country Park at Newburn to Segedunum in Wallsend with her friend Charlotte. It is one of several fundraising activities she has done to meet her target of £6,950 to fund her year of teaching English in Senegal.

Aimee said: “The Project Trust is based on a Scottish Island, and usually the kiltwalk would be done in Scotland.

However, because of Covid, this year it has been virtual – so it was lucky for me to be able to do it close to home.”

The Ponteland High School student is excited about travelling to the West African country, and should restrictions allow, she hopes to go in early September after a week of training at the Project Trust’s base on the Hebridean island Coll off the West Coast of Scotland.

She said: “I think the fact that I’ll be in the same place for the whole year means I’ll be able to fully embrace the culture which seems really vibrant and interesting.

“I did French at GCSE and really enjoyed it, so to be speaking that every day will be fascinating. The majority of Senegal’s population is Muslim and I could learn a lot more about faith and religion, which I’ve never done before.

“For people in Senegal, it’s a useful skill to know English, so hopefully the people there will gain something from me too.”

Part of Aimee’s inspiration to teach is her older brother, who has done a similar programme to the one she is about to embark on.

Aimee said: “My older brother, Dan, worked with Project Trust in Thailand and he came back so much more independent.

As well as her 20km walk, Aimee has been making and delivering boxes of cakes with her mum around Ponteland, Hexham, and Newcastle.

"I haven't been doing it for the last few weeks because of exams, but the plan is to get back to that soon.

So far, we've made about £1,000!"

After a year in Senegal, Aimee hopes to return to the UK to study Medicine at the University of Sheffield, where she has a conditional offer for deferred entry.

All fundraising efforts will go towards Aimee’s flights, accommodation, and living costs for the year as she becomes part of the community in Senegal. At the time of writing, her total fund is at 39% of its target.

You can find more information on Aimee’s trip at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=AimeeAston&pageUrl=1 or https://virtual.thekiltwalk.co.uk/fundraising/ScotlandsVirtualKiltwalk2021-AimeeAston