TAMESIDE College student Declan Gibbons is one step closer to realising his ambition to travel to South Africa after securing support from a local construction firm.
W Maher & Sons boss Roy Taylor handed the 18-year-old from Carrbrook a cheque for £150 to “start the ball rolling” in the hopes it will encourage more local firms to back the youngster.
As part of his Animal Management studies, and in conjunction with the charity Agape Volunteers, Declan plans to travel to the Marakele National Park in Limpopo Province for three weeks in October.
He said: “I need to raise about £1,000 to cover the costs of my equipment, clothing and vaccinations and to have the support of a big company like W Maher & Sons is overwhelming.
“I’ve had an amazing response to my fundraising efforts and I’m very grateful to everybody who has helped me so far, it really does mean the world to me.”
Roy Taylor, of W Maher & Sons, said: “We are very proactive in the communities of our quarries and we like to support as many projects in the local areas as we can.
“Declan is a very impressive young man. It’s a massive undertaking for someone at such a young age, but at the same time it’s exciting and we wish him the very best of luck.”
Jan Jackson, councillor for Stalybridge North, added: “This is one of the most deprived boroughs in the area and Declan is an inspiration to the community. He is a wonderful young man.
“Mental health affects approximately one in four people in the UK each year and I am so proud of the way he has overcome his problems and really seized the day.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I will push to help Declan raise the money he needs to get to South Africa in October.
“He is so deserving, and a role model to people who have been challenged as he has.”
Anyone wishing to get in touch with Declan to sponsor one of his fundraising initiatives can do so on either 07707 012363 or 07555 578324.