Help please for these children

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Sarah’s blog 24/10/22

As I’d said in my post yesterday, I am looking for some help and support for a family whose dad had died suddenly on Saturday. There are three children and their mum, but they’ve lost their main breadwinner. They were living in poverty anyway, but now they are desperate.

Help needed!

It was the burial today and Levison attended with some others from The Foundation. He took cabbages, maize and some small fish for the family and they were very grateful.

There are three children, and I am just as concerned about the eldest boy who is 19 as I am about the younger two children. Vincent never got the chance to finish primary school as he was working to help bring in a pittance to help feed the family. So, he doesn’t even have primary school qualifications and hasn’t had much schooling. He doesn’t have a job and I am worried about his self-esteem, especially now he is the head of the household. Vincent needs a job to keep him busy and to give him self-confidence as well as bringing some money into the home. Hopefully, Levison will be able to talk more with Vincent next time he visits on his way to town.

The younger two are at primary school and really do need sponsors. Mitinala is 14 and must have missed some school too as she’s only in p7. If the family don’t find some help, then Mitinala is at real risk of being married off too soon as her mother won’t be able to feed her. Despite child marriages being illegal, unfortunately, they do still happen. For lots of the girls whom we have already managed to match with sponsors, child marriage was a real risk. By giving them a monthly food parcel at home and keeping them in school, these girls are now safe.

Canani is 9 and in p4. He needs a sponsor to ensue some food goes into their home each month and therefore he will be more likely to stay in school and not have to work. These children need food in their tummies every day so they can concentrate at school. Please will you help them?

I’m looking to get a little team round this family, whether it’s someone sponsoring one of the children or several people giving £5 or £10 a month to give this family a monthly food parcel. What can you do to help today? To sponsor a child, it is £25 per month. They get a monthly food parcel, clothes, soap and stationery, a blanket and welfare visits. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or as two friends splitting the cost. I really hope that these children touch your heart, and you are able to help them even if it’s just a few ££ per month. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help us change these children’s lives. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Help needed!

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Sarah’s blog 23/10/22

We have some sad news and are hoping that some of our lovely supporters might help us.

The team of builders who have been working hard on Bright Futures Secondary School had the weekend off and went home. Levison heard late yesterday that one of the builders had died suddenly which, of course, has been a big shock. This man had a wife and children, although I don’t have details of the children yet. They are poor people and live in a village on the way to Chitipa town.

The funeral is tomorrow and Levison and a few others will attend. Levison will take some maize for the widow and her children. Although he wasn’t an employee of The Foundation, this family have lost their husband and dad. They no longer have his financial support. We would like to be able to help them like we try to help other families who are in need.

Would anyone be willing to help this family either by sponsoring one of the children when I have more information or by committing to a monthly amount towards a food parcel? You can email me if you can help and, hopefully, we can get a little support team around this family. Thank you, Sarah x

Two little girls have a sponsor!

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Sarah’s blog 22/10/22

Great news! Two little girls have a sponsor. This is a single parent family with three children. Mum is really struggling to feed them. We were introduced to these children last month when Levison saw them walking the huge distance to the maize mill with someone else’s maize. They would walk all day with no food or clean water to drink. It’s a long, hard journey carrying their burdens. It’s also a dangerous journey so children stay together to reduce the chance of being attacked along the way.

Below is the original story I posted about them.

You’ll see from their ages and the classes that they are in at school that they have missed some education, especially the oldest, as they will have had to work for a pittance to help bring food into the family home. Thanks to the new sponsor, there will be food going into this home each month, the children will be given blankets and soap and they will have new clothes. Thank you for making a difference.

You can imagine, when there are over 500 orphans and other vulnerable children to support, there can be many challenges along the way. One of these is that some children are called by different names by school, at home and by their friends. The children had told Levison their names were Martha, Hope and Joseph. However, Levison has asked that we use their proper names that are registered at school to avoid confusion when checking records and speaking to the teachers.

So here is a family whose lives have been changed for the better through a kind sponsor having read my previous post. Their mother was crying with happiness when she heard that her daughters would now be supported. It’s less than £1 per day to sponsor a child and there are many, many children who would benefit from having a sponsor. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or share the cost with a friend. Or a club or business can sponsor a child and we will, of course, give your business some publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to change a life today. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these very vulnerable young people. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

NB I will be doing an appeal over the next couple of days on behalf of another family who desperately need a helping hand. Sarah x

Life has been very hard. Mum cried when she heard that her family now have some support.
Mphatso has missed a lot of school. As the eldest child, she has had to be working to earn some money to help feed her siblings.
Roda will benefit from having a sponsor as there will be two food parcels going into the home each month and the children will receive new clothes and blankets. Hopefully, they won’t be going to the maize mill with other people’s maize.
Chikumbusko will receive new clothes and a blanket and benefit from having more food at their home via two food parcels each month. If anyone would like to sponsor him then please get in touch.

Bright Futures Secondary School – raising the roof!

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Sarah’s blog 20/10/22

This blog comes with very mixed feelings. We are so near to completing the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. But we aren’t quite there yet. The children need us. The children need you. Https://gofund.me/44a92444 Please donate to help the most vulnerable children have their own school.

I am absolutely delighted by the progress of everything that is happening in Malawi. I’m proud of our fundraising and so thankful to all of you who have helped us to support the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi to have an education. I’m so proud of the hard work that Levison and his team are doing to project manage all the building work. The builders, carpenters and others who are helping are doing everything they can to make Bright Futures Secondary School a reality.

You will see from today’s photos that the staff accommodation is now complete. Due to the rural location, for safety and convenience, female staff will be offered accommodation. The staff latrine is underway. Due to the dry soil, it is very hard work but should be completed by the start of the week.

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1. These two classrooms are taking shape and are going to be an amazing place to learn. The most vulnerable young people, many of them orphans, will be able to have the education they deserve and a brighter future with a way out of poverty.

However, we need to raise more money. Over the last few months, due to the cost-of-living crisis, fundraising has become more challenging. So, the fact that people have been so generous is even more amazing. Now we need another big push… please help us to finish these classrooms and give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

The roof panels are already bought and are being fixed over the next couple of days. But window frames and glass need to be bought, classroom doors need to be bought, as well as some plastering and flooring. We have 130 chairs on the container that is on its way, as well as school uniform and school bags and stationery. But we do need to build desks and buy some more textbooks.

Please, please if you can, help us to provide a Bright Future at Bright Futures Secondary School for the children and young people we are supporting. It’s always about teamwork and we cannot do this without your help. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Enjoy these photos and I’ll keep posting more over the next couple of days. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x https://gofund.me/44a92444

The staff accommodation block is now complete
Builders have been working hard and this accommodation block is now complete
Cleaning the floors of the accommodation block
The first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School is looking amazing
The builders are working extrememely hard
The carpenters are doing a great job
Almost ready for the metal sheets to go on
The metal sheets are now going on the roof
Fixing the metal roof panels
on the roof…you can see one of the existing latrine blocks in the background
the roof should be completed within the next couple of days
digging the new latrine is extremely hard work due to the ground being so dry

More Building updates

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Sarah’s blog 17/10/22

Things are progressing well with both the staff accommodation and the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

The staff accommodation has been having windows put in during yesterday and today and will need painting and doors fixing. Apart from a bit of tidying up outside, that will be it ready!

The builders have finished their work on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and the carpenters are working on the roof. There are still some jobs to do after that but it’s exciting to see it taking shape! It won’t be long until the first students arrive.

A teachers latrine block is also being constructed and, when finances allow, we will be building another girls and another boys latrine blocks.

The children still need your support. As yet we still need to find money for windows in the school block, doors, chalkboards, desks, more textbooks and notebooks.

Can you help us help the children please? We are nearly there but need your support to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural Northern Malawi. They wouldn’t normally be able to afford secondary school without help. At Bright Futures Secondary School, none of these vulnerable children will have to pay anything.

Here is the link to our fundraiser and we would be so grateful if you could spare a few £££ for the children. Https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

At sunset – the wooden roof supports on the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us complete this phase https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s build a school!

The roof is going on the first phase of the school… two classrooms are being built in this phase
The carpenters have been working hard today please help to get it finished https://gofund.me/44a92444
The staff accommodation is almost complete. Female teachers will be offered accommodation due to the remote location. Eventually there will be male staff accommodation too.
Bright Futures Secondary School is taking shape… thank you to all who have donated so far
Putting the windows into the staff accommodation block
Female teachers will be offered accommodation
The staff accommodation is almost ready

The Wear A Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament

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Sarah’s blog 23/09/22

We have been extremely fortunate to have had donations of football kit and other sports kit from a variety of sources and we are very grateful for the donations and support we have received. If you see a kit that you recognise/donated in the photos or videos from this tournament, then feel free to share and tag teams or people.

The Foundation has hosted the first football tournament that will be held annually. It has been named after one of our supporters. Julian Chenery works tirelessly every weekend collecting preloved football kit and other sports kits to send to those who need them. Julian’s charity is called ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and that is what this annual tournament is called as a thank you for the ongoing support that Julian has given.

It has been very successful, well attended and enjoyed by all. Five teams received gifts of new (to them) football kits. The players in the local teams taking part are all aged between 14 and 20 years old.

Well done to The Bombers who were the overall winners beating Mtelera in the final 3 – 1.

In one of the videos you will see a man talking to the crowd. This is Mr Msachi and he is the chairperson of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga District. I asked Levison to summarise what he had said. Levison said “He was saying this is the first well organised short tournament. He is really thankful to the donors. He is very happy.”

As I have been preparing this post, Levison has messaged to say that he has been contacted by a journalist from Tuntufye Radio who had heard about this football tournament!

Footballs are always needed so if anyone would like to donate money for footballs then please do email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’m so thankful that it has been a success and was well organised, well attended and everyone enjoyed this first tournament. And, of course, we couldn’t do what we do without the help and support of everyone who has donated kit to us to send to The Foundation. It’s always about teamwork….so thank you for being part of our team. If you recognise any of the kits in this blog, then please do tag and share. Thank you again and hope you enjoy looking at the photos and videos. Sarah x

Mr Msachi, Chair of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga thanking the donors for the football kits and saying how well this new tournament has been organised.

9 year old Happy needs a sponsor

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Time goes by so quickly and I can’t believe this post was from 1/1/2019. So much has happened since. Thankfully, Levison now has a motorbike (bought with money generously donated by Strathblane Kirk ) and also a truck. Levison sees this little boy, Happy, from time to time, but I hadn’t seen a photo of him and am delighted to see him looking well. Happy is 9 years old now. The family was gifted a wheelchair for him from a charity in another district. Lovely to have an update thank you Levison.

It would really help Happy and his family if someone could sponsor Happy so that he has a food parcel each month, regular welfare visits, books, blanket, soap etc. If you could sponsor him it’s only £25 per month or two friends could share the cost. Email me at

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you’d like to help. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

(the wall of the skills shed is now looking a bit scruffy as so many children lean on it so some paint has been bought and some older children will be helping with painting that wall)

Original Facebook Post from 1/1/2019 LEVISON’S SPECIAL NEW YEAR OUTREACH

We said earlier that Levison was on a special outreach today.
He went to see Happy, the little boy who is paralysed, whom we met some months ago in the video, and his family, to give them gifts.

Sarah and Stuart bought a chair for Happy and other kind people donated gifts just for him –
Terry nappies, waterproof pants, sudocream, soap, solar light, blankets, clothes, and a selection of toys to help engage him as he is unable to get to school.

His mother was overjoyed, and she cried with tears of happiness.

Poor Levison, though. His bike has done so much hard work and the trail was hard to Happy’s house. On the way back his bike broke, and he had to walk home, but hardy as ever he has made it home.

Happy and his mum when Levison went to visit them with gifts we and other supporters sent 1/1/2019
every journey was long and difficult with only a bicycle
Happy, age 9, is needing a sponsor to help make things a bit easier for him and his family. Can you help please?
Happy was gifted a wheelchair from a charity in another district. It’s great to see him.

100 x £100

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Sarah’s blog 24/08/22

Firstly I want to share with you something one of our sponsors has written;

“We sponsor a student through this charity. In a world where some are born into families with many opportunities and benefits and others are born where opportunities are scarce and life is more challenging, it is essential we notice, commit, care and seek to share what we have been given so others can dream and hope and have an opportunity to make a difference in the world. May all these students dream and hope and make the best of the life they have been given.”

We need your help to raise the rest of the money we need to open Bright Futures Secondary School in rural Northern Malawi. Without this school, the most vulnerable young people will miss out on education. Please help us.

We have our fundraiser https://gofund.me/44a92444 where you can donate but we are also asking 100 schools, nurseries, colleges, universities, businesses, churches, clubs, families or individuals to raise £100. Are you up for a challenge? Can you raise or donate £100? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Let’s give the gift of education and help these very vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future! Let’s build this school! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

This year’s p8 students

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Sarah’s blog 21/08/22

These young people have been really busy and have recently taken their primary school leavers exams. We have our fingers and toes crossed for them that they all pass and have good enough grades to continue onto secondary school.

They have all written letters to their sponsors. They aren’t confident at writing letters as they don’t have many opportunities so this is good practice for them.

Hope you enjoy the photos and reading what they have written. Thank you to all their sponsors for changing their lives and giving them new opportunities. Sarah x

Thoughts & thanks from Levison

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Sarah’s blog 18/08/22

I sometimes think I don’t get across the sheer scale of the difficulties faced by the people that Levison and his team are trying to help in the rural far north of Malawi. When he first wanted to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, he was just thinking about those in his village. However, from reading what he has written below, you can see that people are coming every day begging for help, and walking huge distances to get to The Foundation because they have heard that they won’t be turned away. People do not have food to feed themselves or their families.

In addition to the 500+ children who are fed once a week at The Feeding Programme, the 75 preschool children who are fed three times a week in The Nursery, as well as all the other projects and wonderful things that are happening, there are so many others needing our help. These people are feeling forgotten. There are no other charities or big agencies feeding children in that area. It is a huge responsibility for The Foundation and a huge responsibility for us. That is why we rely on your help. That is why we need you as part of our team.

When you give us preloved clothes and shoes, blankets and soap…you will understand the importance of these when you read Levison’s words. It’s also important that we continue to have the funds to send this aid to the most vulnerable people in rural Northern Malawi. So, if you can, please when you donate clothes, shoes, or anything else to us, could you include some money to cover the cost of sending boxes to The Foundation. Or raise some funds for us to continue this important work. It’s £15 per box on the container. People need our help. We need you to be part of our team. Great things are happening but there is more to do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Today when I was resting under a small tree to the south of the resource centre, I shed tears when I was looking at the library/shed, the shower block and other structures around. I thought much of where I am coming from in as far my charity work involvement is concerned.

Almost each and every hour we receive people from far places (some even 40km away) coming to the resource centre to ask for help. Men, women, boys and girls come to beg for food, money and clothes. These are people who really seem to be in dire poverty. We usually make sure they get relaxed, we give them food to eat. For those who may be come with some health issues like headache etc we give them painkillers like panado.

We have reserved, food, clothes, soap etc for such emergencies. When we give them the little we have, they shed tears, roll on the ground etc. These tears are tears of joy. These are the blessings we are receiving from these people. Many ask who is behind this initiative. I myself also shed tears when I hear their stories and see how thankful they are.

As a charity organisation we have contributed a lot to the community and are making a difference to the community. We have electricity, people being fed and clothed. Think of the children and women who are HIV positive, we have improved their nutrition status. On behalf of our children I would like to thank you all for your amazing love and support you are giving to us”

Levison Mlambya, 17/08/22
Some of the younger children at The Feeding Programme
Just one of the families who have been helped by The Foundation. This family’s home had been destroyed in the heavy rains. They were given this home to live in by another villager and The Foundation was able to provide food, blankets, new clothes and match two of the children with sponsors so they have two food parcels going into their home each month.
Here they are in their new, clean clothes with a big bag of maize too.
The family with some more gifts of clothes and shoes

Children’s Education

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Sarah’s blog 8/8/22

In Malawi, children in their last year of primary school and in the second year of secondary school, have all been busy with exams. The fourth year of secondary school will sit exams in October. Just like for our children, it’s a stressful time and a lot of pressure for the young people.

However, unlike most of our children, the children supported by The Foundation, have faced huge trauma. Most children have had family members who have passed away. Children are being cared for by extended family or another family have taken them in. Even if children are still with their parents or one parent, there is not enough food coming into their homes to enable the children to eat properly every day. Some children may have one basic meal a day, others might have to go without food or try to find food themselves.

We send money to support The Feeding Programme which feeds 500+ children once a week. They get a substantial and nutritious meal. Some children walk up to 20km for that meal as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in that area. We would love to be able to feed the children more often but costs are rising and we, along with The Foundation, are trying to work holistically, so that money is also going to future projects for the benefit of the whole community and for them to be self-sufficient.

Teachers have noticed a difference in the concentration of the children and young people who are supported by The Foundation just from that one meal a week at the Feeding Programme. Imagine the difference if they were able to have more food more often? Once the fruit tree saplings have matured and are producing fruit the children will be able to have fruit to supplement their diet.

Children have had clean clothes instead of the rags they were wearing and are attending school more regularly and their self-esteem is better. However, are they sleeping properly? Are they cold? Are hunger pains keeping them awake? Most of the children supported by The Foundation won’t have anything to eat before school. They certainly won’t have anything to eat during school…if they are lucky they may have something once they get home. Sponsored children receive a monthly food parcel to supplement the food in their homes. All children are malnourished to different extents. Some children have stunted growth due to lack of food and nutrients in their early life. All 500+ children need our help.

The nursery has been set up for preschool children three times a week. It was intended for 50 children but now 75 children attend. They are fed at each session. There is some porridge provided by Feed The Children, for which we are grateful, but it doesn’t last long so we are supporting feeding these hungry children. These preschool children still aren’t having enough food and nutrition but what they are getting is more than the older children. Year on year the children should have better nutrition. We also want to be helping expectant mothers, babies and toddlers.

I’m typing as the thoughts are coming into my head so I am sorry if this isn’t flowing as well as it should, but the children’s wellbeing is very important to me and I have so many ideas sometimes my fingers can’t keep up with my brain!

So are we expecting too much from these vulnerable children and young people who are doing exams? Would we send our children into an exam without breakfast? Imagine if a child hadn’t been eating enough for a long period of time…how can they learn if they are hungry and tired? Basic needs have to be met first before children can start thinking about anything else. Have they slept properly on the ground in their very basic home? Unless they are sponsored, they don’t have a torch to do homework after 6pm when it gets dark each day. What about the trauma of people they love passing away? Girls had been missing out on school for one week every month until the Period Poverty Project was established. Some children had missed lots of school to try to earn a pittance to buy food.

The odds of achieving had been stacked against them. But things are changing. As long as the children are trying their best then that’s all we can ask of them or expect of them. Whether they pass exams or they don’t, they will have learned more being in school than out of school, also they are safer in school and there is less risk of teenage pregnancy and girls being married off too soon. Their literacy skills and numeracy skills will be better than if they hadn’t attended school. These skills will help the young people in future whatever they do. These children are doing brilliantly to do what they do each day, to learn at school. In the local primary, apart from year 8 all the children are sitting on the floor. Another issue we want to address when we can.

What I am trying to say is that the orphans and other vulnerable children, whether at primary school or at secondary school have had a very tough life so far and have missed out on some of the basics that every child should have. Hopefully, because we are introducing books in the nursery, library and primary schools and because children are having more nutrition, we should see literacy levels rise each year and children achieving better results in their exams. But, just like anywhere in the world, not all children are academic and so they should be supported to learn a trade or whatever they want to do. These children are brilliant. They are resilient. They are survivors. We are proud of each and every one of them. They will have brighter futures with a team supporting them at The Foundation.

We are looking to partner with businesses, clubs, families or individuals who will commit to a monthly donation towards the feeding programme. We have a few people already helping us with this and we’d love more people to help and share the costs so that these children can have at least two decent meals each week. We sent money for fruit tree saplings and we want to send more money so this is a future source of food and a source of income. If you would like to support the feeding programme with a monthly donation then please email me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . We will continue making a difference with your help and we will continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting the children, Sarah x

Children in a classroom at Chambo Primary looking at the books that the school had just been gifted as part of The School Literacy Project.
These three photos are from approximately three years ago but I think they are very powerful. 1.Little children enjoying their meal at the Feeding Programme. 2.Volunteers & some older girls preparing food for all the children. 3. A big sister delighted to have something to feed her baby sister…they had both just become orphans.
The children in nursery have received new clothes and flipflops. They were also sent a preloved trainset. It was all put in the middle of the floor and the children were observed working out what to do with the pieces and the trains…it didn’t take them long, despite never having seen a trainset before!

Kilometre Challenge Update

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Sarah’s blog 4/8/22

Jackie has written an update below of how the challenge is going.

Douglas & Lynda have been walking some of the Fife Coastal path and clocked up 67.5km. They also sent some beautiful photos. Thank you to both of them for their continued support.

Stuart and I managed some r&r in the East Neuk of Fife too and have added our km although nowhere near as impressive. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

“Hello All – Well the BALFRON TO BRIGHT FUTURES SECONDARY SCHOOL CHALLENGE has just passed its first month

The various people involved (a small team of 7 so far) have clocked up 1,817.805km. In addition the kids in Malawi have run 320km to join in.

This is a total of 2,137.805km an amazing 16.26% of the way to walk/cycle/run/hop/skip/jump the 13,144km that represents the journey from Balfron to Ibuluma in Northern Malawi.

So far over £8k has been raised (a lot off line so the GoFundMe looks a bit light!) but as prices are rising fast in Malawi just like here the sooner material can be bought the better so we really need to raise lots more money sooner rather than later.

Can you help Build the Bright Futures Secondary School?
Ways to help:-

1 – Make a donation and encourage me (and the team) to keep clocking up the km’s – https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3
2 – Join in and “donate” your km’s to the total to get us to Malawi sooner – https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9
3 – Follow the charity on FB to see how we are getting on with our challenge – https://www.facebook.com/changinglivesmalawi
4 – Share this post with anyone and everyone who might be interested in our project so we can raise awareness of the charity and its amazing projects (it does soooo much more – https://changinglivesmalawi.com/about/)

Thank you so much for reading and your support 🙂

PS – over 70,000 bricks are soon being fired to build the walls 🙂 – Jackie”

Beautiful views from the East Neuk of Fife courtesy of Douglas & Lynda

Photos I took from St Andrews and the East Neuk of Fife – one of our favourite places.

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