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Press Page - Personal Profile of Lily Canter and Mark Dayman

As a journalist I am always seeking out a good story with a strong human interest angle and great opportunity for photographs.

Lily Canter and Mark DaymanI first came into contact with FREED UK when founder member Anne Hicks contacted me at the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, where I am Features Editor, and asked me to put in an appeal for blankets to send to a remote Ghanaian hospital. From there our professional relationship grew and I soon learnt of Anne’s great passion for the region of Nandom and the many different projects that were going on behind the scenes.

I started to write articles about the different trips to Ghana and eventually the paper adopted FREED’s hospital kitchen project as one of its appeal.

Myself and my partner Mark Dayman had always wanted to do charity work in Africa but felt we were unable to commit to any lengthy visits due to our mortgage, cats, jobs etc.

We were both attracted by FREED (UK) because over time I had got to know the people behind the charity and obtained a real insight into their work. They were not a faceless multinational charity but local people spending every single penny they raised on an area that meant something to them.

We were both keen to get involved and started attending the charity meetings and put our names forward for the next trip.

Mark Dayman the cabinet maker at work near his bench.Mark is a cabinet maker with over 10 years experience so he had relevant skills to share in Nandom and I knew I would be able to publicise the work of the charity to thousands of people, an invaluable marketing resource. Mark's business back in the UK - The Art of Wood - manufactures freestanding and fitted bespoke furniture. You can visit his website by clicking here.

We travelled with a group of more than 20 people to Nandom in October 2007 and had an unforgettable experience.

We were both incredibly busy and hardly saw one another during the day, but really felt we started to make a difference in just one week.

Working with local carpenter Joe Brisko, Mark helped to set up the dental suite at Nandom Hospital with work tops, storage space and a sink area, and also built a library in Ko Primary School, recycling old school desks. He also managed to find time to create some storage space in the pathology lab.

Meanwhile I returned with a dusty notepad full of stories, more than 500 photographs and hours of video footage for our website at www.northamptonchron.co.uk

To date the newspaper appeal has raised more than £5,000.

You  can visit some of the articles that I have written by clicking on the links below:

Some Westerners we met in Ghana scoffed at our efforts because we were there for such a short space of time but the difference is that we will go back there year after year and work with the community, rather than staying for a few months never to return, without passing on skills.

We are getting married in September this year (2008) so are unable to travel to Ghana but we are already looking ahead to 2009 when we hope to return to Nandom once more.