PUPILS from a school near Tenbury have been on an ambitious African adventure which included sports matches, the presentation of over £2,000 to a village hospice and donation of sporting equipment.

The visit has become an annual event for students from the school and provides an opportunity to learn more about the culture of people living in very different circumstances from the life that they live in rural Worcestershire.

It provided a mix of sport and leisure alongside more serious activities that including visiting a hospice for African children suffering from life limiting illnesses in a beautiful but much troubled country.

The party of children from Abberley Hall School, spent two weeks of their Easter holiday in the Kwa-Zulu region of South Africa.

Accompanied by four members of staff, the 28 boys and girls aged from 11 to 13 years old played rugby and hockey matches against South African school teams.

However, the annual trip, now in its eighth year, included far more than sport.

“We ensure that all the pupils learn about the history, culture, wildlife, landscape, adventurous activities and political situation of the country,” said Nigel Richardson, deputy head master at Abberley School.

“The tour is so much more than the four fixtures that they will play. After flying to Durban they stay in ‘Shakaland’, a zulu cultural village before learning all about the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, visiting the battle sites of Isandlwhana and Rourke’s Drift,” he added before the visit.

The students stayed in an adventure camp on the Buffalo river watching game move about at dawn and dusk and abseiling, zip lining and white-water rafting.

Two nights were be spent in a game park under canvas looking for rhinos amongst may other game and learning all about the ecology of the country.”

Besides all of the sport and adventure the will also be visiting Philanjalo (www.philanjalo.org.za), a hospice and care centre that Abberley Hall School has supported over the years where they will learn all about the health issues of South Africa.

They presented over £2,000 they have raised on a sponsored walk to pay for the wheelchairs and ripple beds which will make the lives of the patients much more comfortable.

They also visited the local Moi River Primary school and take a large amount of school sports kit and balls for the children and see what school life is like for many children in that part of the world.