Monday 19 February 2018

Nicky lets his mum put her feet up briefly as Mellon volunteers build a better future for Cape Town's children

Sarah and her son Nicky (17) take a break in Cape Town
Sarah and her son Nicky (17) take a break in Cape Town
Sarah and her son Nicky (17) take a break in Cape Town
Sarah and her son Nicky (17) in Cape Town

Jane Last in Cape Town

MOTHER’S Day is around the corner. And mum-of-two Sarah Flannery (38) is getting some rest after a hard day’s work.

Her son Nicky (17), a fifth year student at Oaklands College in Stillorgan, let his mother put her feet up briefly as they work together on the Mellon Educate building blitz in Cape Town.

The pair will be will be travelling back to Ireland from South Africa on Mother’s Day where they will be reunited with Sarah’s youngest son Tom (5) – so Nicky decided to get in early with his Mother’s Day treat.

Sarah, a dentist who is originally from Knocknacarra, Co Galway, but now living in Blackrock, Co Dublin, and Nicky have been working on the Oranjekloof school near the township of Imizamo Yethu.

The site is nearing completion for handover to the community later today and will cater to some 1,300 children in the township.

The cause is close to the heart of Sarah and Nicky – Sarah’s father Ignatius Flannery, a former schoolteacher, passed away in May of last year. 

Before his death at the age of 77, he went on nine building blitzes for the Niall Mellon Township Trust. The many friends he met while working for the charity attended his funeral, as did charity boss Niall Mellon.

“My father was a schoolteacher and education was something that was really important to him.

“It’s fitting that this school project is close to the township where my father first built houses for the charity,” Sarah told the Independent.

On his last blitz in November 2012, the father of four daughters was the proudest man on site as daughter Sarah and grandson Nicky joined him on site to lend a hand.  The blitz is now a family tradition and something Sarah and her three sisters intend to honour every year.

The mother and son were among the dozens of charity volunteers who paid a visit to a crèche in the township yesterday (THURS).

Constructed with just roofing sheets, the shack caters for up to 20 children aged between one and five years of age while their parents are working.

The children here will go to a pre-school – a proper structure – before going to Oranjekloof school at the age of seven.

The school is expected to be completed today (FRI).

The 220 volunteers in Cape Town will be reunited with another 100 volunteers who have been working on three different education projects in a rural part of the Eastern Cape this evening for a well-deserved wrap party.

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