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The Sean Devereux Childrens Fund is a charity set up following Sean's untimely death in 1993. Sean was a Farnborough pupil who many of us will have known or at least know his inspirational story;however, for all the generations, we have detailed below a little more about the charity and how it came into being.

 

Dear Alumni,

Many of you will have heard of Sean Devereux given the very close links that the school has with his name, however many of you may not have a detailed knowledge of Sean and what is still going on in his name over twenty years since his passing.

Sean was a pupil at Salesian between 1975 and 1982. He was a very charismatic person who excelled at sport and was extremely popular with his peers. He was someone who stood out from the group and it was evident that he had a calling from a very early age. 

He was very sociable and had a great sense of humour, indeed he was the centre of much of what went on within the year both in school and when we were out and about.

He was a great organiser and liked to take charge of social events. We went to his house on frequent occasions and always had great fun there. It was no surprise that he was the Head boy for our year in 1982.

It was apparent that he wanted to teach and he set about getting the skills required to do that. He qualified as a teacher and went to Salesian College Chertsey and did really well there. He was regarded as an excellent teacher.

Whilst many of the Class of 82 were still finding their place in the world, Sean decided his calling was to help children in Africa get an education. He travelled to Liberia and started teaching in a very small village called Tappita. He used to write regularly to us and send cassette tapes  updating us on his experiences. It was evident that it was very primitive but he loved working there. He could see that the children there needed a chance and he provided them with all sorts of opportunities to learn and grow.

He did though get very angry that the Civil War which was going on in Liberia was claiming young lives. Rival War lords had recruited young children as young as 10 into their armies and had them carrying AK47s. Many of these  child soldiers were his own pupils. He did all he could to stop them getting involved, challenging those who were doing this to stop. This resulted in him being imprisoned and beaten. Something  he did not tell us about at the time.

As the war continued in Liberia he was advised to return home by the Foreign Office which he reluctantly did. He was very sad about that as he had such an affinity to his children. He wanted to get back to Africa and quickly volunteered to work with UNICEF in Somalia and was posted to the port of Kismayo. There he was responsible for overseeing the distribution of food to those in need. A very difficult job but one that needed a firm and fair hand. He was the ideal man for that as it played into his beliefs, values and organisational skills.

There were numerous American TV crews that were watching the UN operation and they interviewed Sean on several occasions. On one such occasion Sean spoke out and  said that the US and western governments (including the UK) were responsible for arming the Somalian factions and this was wrong. Sean was very principled and would never back down. It was one of his many qualities but also something that put him in danger. 

Just before New Year 1993 Sean went to Kenya for a well earned holiday with his family. It was a great trip with much fun had by all. When it was over he returned to Kismayo and on his way to his compound Sean was shot dead by a hired gunman. He died instantly.

His death was reported around the world and was a great shock to all who knew him. It was also a devastating blow to the children of Africa who he had helped so much. 

The Sean Devereux Children's fund was launched in 1993 and its aim is to continue to provide education, food and support to the children of Liberia. Schools have been built in Sean's name and many lives of the poorest children have been positively affected. 

In more recent years the College has started the Sean Devereux - "Share the Light" project which supports children in Zambia. Again - the work here has made the lives of many vulnerable and poor children so much better.

So - how can the Alumni help? 

There are lots of ways to help, the most direct is to help us sponsor children through their education. We have 160 children who are being sponsored through their education in Liberia. This is something that is changing lives and is a direct help to those in need. 

This costs £15 per month and is an important commitment which can be for a specific child who will keep in touch with you updating you with their progress from time to time.  More details can be found on the Sean Devereux Children's fund website ( http://www.seandevereux.org.uk).

Please also contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details and help if  you wish to support this vital work.

Please help us make a positive impact and continue to support Sean's legacy.

Mark Chatterton

Trustee - Sean Devereux Children's fund.

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