Ely couple return home as coronavirus pandemic brings Asian charity mission to an end

Peter Harris and Liz Sayers with some of the children who are able to go to school, thanks to their

Peter Harris and Liz Sayers with some of the children who are able to go to school, thanks to their fundraising efforts. Picture: LIZ SAYERS - Credit: Archant

An Ely couple managed to catch one of the last flights home from Bangkok after coronavirus brought a charitable mission in south-east Asia to an abrupt end.

Officials in Thailand take no precautions (left) while passengers leave Bangkok in travel suits (rig

Officials in Thailand take no precautions (left) while passengers leave Bangkok in travel suits (right). Pictures: LIZ SAYERS - Credit: Archant

For over 12 years, education consultant Peter Harris and Liz Sayers have supported and raised funds for the Centre for Children’s Happiness (CCH), a school and orphanage in Cambodia.

The couple spent time at CCH in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville and were due to travel on to education fairs in Vietnam and Japan, but plans were thrown into confusion as fairs and flights were cancelled.

“One of our agents in Thailand very kindly offered us the use of an apartment while a super-helpful BA (British Airways) call-handler worked hard to find a way of changing our original 1 April booking from Tokyo to one of the last flights out of Bangkok last Wednesday (March 25),” Liz said.

“Our temperatures were taken as we left for Bangkok airport and at the entrance to departures.

The live departure screen as Peter and Liz wait for a flight back to the UK. Picture: LIZ SAYERS

The live departure screen as Peter and Liz wait for a flight back to the UK. Picture: LIZ SAYERS - Credit: Archant


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“There were signs in the lift indicating where to stand and bottles of sanitizer at every airline check-in desk.

“All we saw on arrivals at Heathrow were two girls handing out health advice leaflets which most travellers ignored.”

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Last year, with the support of friends in Ely, the couple raised £9,100 which is paying for a year’s vocational training in Sihanoukville for five students from CCH, and for another 24 children to go to school.

The couple had recently returned to CCH to see how the money is being spent, as well as catching up with students from the centre.

“We are determined to continue supporting CCH, although some of the fundraising plans will have to change,” Peter said.

“We’ll just have to be more creative and find a way.”

Peter has pledged to continue support for CCH over the coming year. He can be contacted via pjhely@gmail.com.

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