PUPILS and staff from St Columba’s High in Gourock made memories to last a lifetime after building a classroom in an African school.

Seven pupils and three staff made their way to the town of Kigumba in north west Uganda for the international aid mission at Good Hope Primary.

David Doolan, Duncan Thacker, Luke Parker, Leah McEleny, Katie Holland, Kara Leck and Heather Wilson were joined by teachers Jamie Parker, Jennifer Higgins and Kieran O’Neill. Accompanying them was Dario Turriani from Connected Global Citizens who organised the trip.

The group were hosted by priests of the local Catholic church and stayed in the parish house while in the town.

Although the pupils and staff were not there long enough to see the classroom complete they were delighted they managed to be part of so much of the project.

Mr O’Neill said: “Our jobs were digging and laying the foundations, moving thousands of bricks, mixing concrete, laying the floor, preparing metalwork for the roof and building the walls.

“When we started there was only spare ground beside the existing classrooms.

"When we left we had raised the walls to ceiling height.

“Although we won’t be there to see it finished it has been entirely funded by the pupils’ fundraising efforts.

"The builders’ wages and all of the building materials were paid for by our project.

“This was a building site with no power tools, no cement mixers, not even a spirit level, so to achieve what we did in the time we were there felt amazing.”

The pupils took turns cooking meals for the rest of the group, cleaning their own clothes and walking into town to buy any supplies needed.

They also took some time out for a cruise on the River Nile, a safari and visit to the equator where they stood with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern.

Kieran said: “The highlight for the pupils was getting to meet and play with the local children - despite having relatively nothing they were all very happy and excited by the strangers in the town.

“Most afternoons on the building site we were joined by a large number of local children who would often help us in moving bricks or filling wheelbarrows with sand and who seemed to love spending time with us.

“Working with the locals was a very humbling experience.

"It was a much more basic way of life in Uganda, but nobody complained.

"There was a real sense of community.

"We were amazingly proud of our pupils.

"They did themselves, their families and the school proud.

“From all of the fundraising work they did to get to Uganda and fund the project in the first place to all of the back-breaking work they did on site under the hot Uganda sun, they were great and ought to be commended.

“The legacy that we have started is really important to us all, and it's something we'll look to build on in the future.”