Please take some time to read Donna's motivation to join Sharpe's March. Donna is one of The Mighty Bean's Forum members. This cause is really very important and has got my full support. I was glad to help sponsoring, but more money is needed to help the children of the world. Don't take my word for it, but Daragh O'Malley's and all of the Chosen Men including Sean Bean, Bernard Cornwell etc. So give a moment to read Donna's words and if you're able sponsor her; every little bit of money helps!
I arrived at Caversham Park, Berkshire at 6.00am to report for duty!!
We waited for all to arrive and we were taken to the day 2 campsite in Streatly where the day 3 march would start. We set off at around 7.30
Daragh was at the head of the column and we set off through Goring causing a few strange looks from passersby. We walked alongside the Thames which was beautiful at that time of the day with the sun still low in the trees. The walk was at a fairly brisk pace and there were a few difficult hazards to negotiate where we were thankful for dry weather. A very steep and slippery slope took its toll on the marchers and we had to stop at the top for a few minutes while first aid was given to a rifleman and we then headed on to Whitchurch and onto a Stud Farm where we were supposed to met up with the Calvary but they did not arrive.
We carried on and met the cavalry about 2 miles later and walked the last few miles stopping just outside Reading to meet up with the admin team and were joined by Hugh Frazer (Duke of Wellington) Jason Salkey (Harris) and his wife and Lyndon Davies (Perkins) who lead the column as we walked the last mile to Caversham Park accompanied by a Scots guard playing the bagpipes. We walked through Caversham, stopping traffic and causing a few stares. We walked through the gates of Caversham Park with our heads held high and proud to be part of this wonderful event. We were all given a certificate of our achievement which will be proudly displayed. It was a fantastic day and I would willingly do it all again. There is talk of another one in a couple of years time. The 95th and all the other re enactors are really the stars of this event.
I met lots of new friends and I have raised to date £285.
Click thumbs for full size.
Last picture, left to right:
Lyndon Davies (Perkins), Hugh Frazer (Duke of Wellington), Donna, Daragh O’Malley (Harper) and Jason Salkey (Harris),
5 years ago I was a tired mother of two girls, life was passing me by, I had given up on ambitions and had no dreams or passions. Then, one rainy Sunday afternoon, I re- discovered Richard Sharpe! I could remember watching it when the girls were younger, after they had gone to bed, but hadn’t really taken much notice. This time it had a great effect on me, this time it re ignited my interest in history and that flame inside grew and grew. 5 years has passed by and I have met like minded friends from around the globe, visited battle sites across Spain and Portugal and read books about the lives of people I knew nothing of and I always want to learn more!! This is a new me, one with interests, passions, friends to call on and dreams to visit distant battlegrounds. Sharpe gave me a new and exciting life.
Sharpe’s March is giving me a chance to give something back. In September 2011, Napoleonic re-enactors & volunteers are taking part in a walk across Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Fifty miles over 3 days, a distance regularly travelled by Wellington’s Army. The final day is a distance of 10 miles and members of the public can walk alongside the re-enactors. This is all taking place to raise money for the actor who played Patrick Harper, Daragh O’Malley’s charity, The Sharpe’s Children Foundation
“There are over 200 million children destitute on the streets of The Third World. Every three minutes a child under the age of 5 dies of malnutrition. Incredibly, the world stands by and little is being done.”
The charity is still relatively new but has the backing and support of many of the Sharpe creators and actors such as Bernard Cornwell, Sean Bean, Jason Salkey, John Tams, Michael Mears, Brian Cox, Daniel Craig, Hugh Frazer, Paul Bettany and many many more!
I met Daragh last year and was amazed and impressed with the dedication and real heartfelt passion that he has given to his cause. In March this year, I went with another TMB member to the Sharpe’s Children Foundation office in Shroreditch, London. We were shown around by Yvette Leavy, Daragh’s niece, who runs the charity. We were made to feel most welcome and were shown the photos of the building that they are hoping to convert into the first Sharpe Shelter in Kotra, Southern Rajasthan which will see 220 children become first generation learners. Sharpe’s March is hoping to raise enough money to make this happen.
So on Sunday 25th September I will walk with re-enactors from the 95th Rifles, Royal Horse Artillery and 16th Light Dragoons and I will start to give back something to the actors that helped me. You can also help by either sponsoring me to walk on Sharpe’s March at Doona Visiers or by texting SHARPE to 70303 and donate £3. Thank you for your support and encouragement.
From Portugal to the desert sands of Rajasthan
In an exclusive interview with The Portugal News, renowned Irish actor and Algarve resident Daragh O'Malley, probably best known as the ever faithful, but fearsome Patrick Harper in the Sharpe TV series, speaks about his career and the reasons that led to the foundation of an international children's charity.
"The Sharpe series, which I started filming with Sean Bean in 1992 has been running for 17 years, been shown in 120 countries worldwide, except in France, and has been translated into many languages, most recently Hindi," said Daragh.
Looking back on the history of the hugely popular television series, Daragh O'Malley names just a few stars who started their careers on Sharpe.
"Daniel Craig started with us, as did Elizabeth Hurley, who filmed with us in the Ukraine," he said, adding others including Paul Bethany, Emily Mortimer and also the late Peter Postlethwaite.
"It is an amazing series and to this day, I don't know where its popularity has come from, but we have a number of famous fans including the Princes William and Harry, as well as former US Vice President Dick Cheney," said Daragh, adding: "He is a huge fan, and can even quote lines from the series."
With a wry smile, Daragh explains that the series' appeal has also spread to the gay community.
"The main characters [Sharpe and Harper] are gay icons, seen to some as a male love story, but Sean [Bean] doesn't like to hear that!"
"From Portugal onto the bar stools and battlefields of the Crimea to the seething desert sands of western Rajasthan," Sharpe took Daragh and the team from Portugal where they originally started filming near Cascais to Yalta in Ukraine.
"We filmed in the Crimea for five years, but decided the winters were too severe and it became too tough, so we moved to Turkey for two years, then filmed in London's East End, in Bradford," he said.
The final destination for Sharpe was the "seething desert of Rajasthan" in north western India.
For Daragh, arriving in India to film and seeing the poverty and how children suffered and were used as economic assets was very upsetting.
"Children from the age of four are put to work in the cotton and silk fields and paid the equivalent of four pounds sterling a month for working 16 hours a day, seven days a week," he said, adding: "They have no education and where we were filming there was a literacy rate of less than two percent."
Daragh's emotions come to the surface as he remembers the children he saw in India and reels off a series of statistics; "Only one in four girls see their 13th birthday. There isn't much use for girls."
"People nowadays think of poverty in India as the scenes from `Slumdog Millionaire' but the reality is that what is shown in the film is like 10 on the poverty scale whereas the children living in rural India are on 0," he said.
The second year the team went back to film in India in 2008, Daragh decided to investigate the surrounding towns and villages in his spare time.
"I saw schools that doubled up as cow sheds, the children had been moved out and the cows moved in," he said, adding that teachers also often don't attend class as they double as local government officials and have other duties to perform.
On one particular day, a number of actors and camera crew were sitting around a lake between filming takes and saw a group of children swimming in raw sewage.
"All of us went silent, which is rare for actors, but it was then that we knew something had to be done," said Daragh, adding that it was then that the Sharpe's Children Foundation - Actors Taking Action began.
The charity, which is the first one started by a television show, had its official launch on 21 October 2010 in the Duke of Wellington's Drawing Room at Apsley House.
"The Duke is 94 and a fan of Sharpe. He told me that he only agreed to let us use his drawing room because he liked the way his ancestors are depicted in the series."
As a new charity, Sharpe's Children Foundation, which Daragh hopes will be a lasting legacy to Sharpe in the countries in which it was filmed, is still finding its way, but has clear aims and goals to fight child poverty through education.
"Readers of the 37 million Sharpe books that have been sold and television viewers will understand that we are trying to fight child poverty with education, which we feel is the only lethal weapon in this war."
The foundation's first goal is to open a Sharpe Shelter, an early learning education centre in India.
"Our first shelter is to open in Kotra, South of Udaipur with more than 200 children drawn from the streets and 30 of the poorest villages in the world, where the average family income is 234 pounds sterling per year, mostly from children's wages," he said.
This flagship shelter will make 220 first generation learners, meaning none of their ancestors were literate, but the biggest challenge will be the project's sustainability.
"The main obstacle will be keeping these children at school, as there is a tendency for families and even non-family members to grab them and put them to work to earn money instead," said Daragh, which is why the Sharpe voucher system has been devised to compensated families in vouchers equivalent to the amount a child would earn if they are kept in school.
To get the ball rolling, members of the Sharpe's Children Foundation have had meetings with the village elders and showed them an example of someone who went to school and has been successful to demonstrate the power of education.
"They are all very excited by the project and we aim for the shelter to also be used as a community centre for the whole village."
The charity's medium term goal is to open more Sharpe Shelters in India, the Ukraine and Turkey, although the model can be repeated all over the world, including in Portugal. These shelters will introduce children to vocational skills such as computing and carpentry as well as dance, drama and art and will have sports facilities.
"We hope to open between five and 12 Sharpe Shelters in India as well as upgrading orphanages in the Ukraine and providing them with a five year commitment of support" said Daragh, adding that in Turkey for example, the shelters will include accommodation, food and a laundry, where youngsters from the streets can take refuge, get their hair cut and clothes washed.
"If you asked me two years ago, the last thing I ever thought I would do is start a charity," said Daragh, who since working in India, which he describes as a "life changing experience" has done extensive research into child poverty.
In 2000, every world superpower, including India signed the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015, but according to Daragh, nothing has happened yet in India.
"At the time readers are reading this article, across the developing world today, 42,000 children will die of poverty," he said, adding: "India is not a poor country. It has a lot of wealth and twice as much gold stored than Fort Knox."
He considers the problem to be down to a lack of political will from the government to look after its own people as well as media silence on the issue.
"We want to show the world what can be done with very little," said Daragh, adding that the annual cost of running a Sharpe shelter has been calculated at around 75,000 pounds sterling.
To fund their goals, the Sharpe's Children Foundation are in talks with multinationals to support their shelter model, although they are also open to donations and help from members of the public and fundraising groups.
Between 23 and 25 September, a column made up of Infantry, Artillery and Cavalry from the armies of Wellington and Napolean will march 50 miles of `The Ridgeway', `Chiltern Way' and `Thames Path', spanning Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside in the UK, in just three days to raise funds and awareness for the charity.
"This will be the biggest ever march against child poverty in Europe with Napoleonic re-enactors and volunteers," said Daragh adding: "Nobody knows the exact figures, but it is estimated that there are between 250 million and 300 million children living on the streets across the world."
For more information about how you can help the Sharpe's Children Foundation, visit their website at: www.sharpeschildren.com. Alternatively, for more information about the march taking place in the UK in September, visit: www.sharpesmarch.com.
Actors fromthelegendary TV series Sharpe giving hope to orphaned and destitute children throughout the world, Read all about this wonderful charity on the Sharpe's Children Foundation's website:
On October 21, at Apsley House London All pictures courtesy of the London photographer Duncan Soar who gave his kind permission for posting them here. You can see more of his work on his website
If people are interested in buying shots, Duncan has offered to make them available online via a print sales site. You can either contact me or Duncan if you do.
Picture ©Duncan Soar
A Night to Remember at Apsley House
Sean Bean (Sharpe) and Daragh O'Malley(Harper) and several other regulars from the Sharpe TV series, as well as creator of Sharpe, Bernard Cornwell OBE, have confirmed they will be present at the launch of THe Sharpe's Children Foundation in The Waterloo Gallery at Apsley House, Number One London - the magnificent home of the Duke of Wellington.