Lauren’s legacy boosts Derry charity’s African schools drive

Money raised in memory of a teenager who died in a Co Tyrone hotel tragedy has helped a Derry charity build new school classrooms in Africa.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 10:14 am
The memorial plaque unveiled in Lauren’s memory.
The memorial plaque unveiled in Lauren’s memory.

Lauren Bullock, from Donaghmore, was only 17 years old when she and two other teenagers lost their lives in a crush as they queued to get into a disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s Day 2019.

On the third anniversary of Lauren’s passing, Derry international development charity, Children in Crossfire, have shared images of two new classrooms they have built at Mapinduzi Primary School in Tanzania’s Dodoma region thanks to funds raised in her memory.

She was a passionate advocate for children’s rights and had told her family about attending a talk in her school, St Patrick’s College in Dungannon, given by Children in Crossfire’s Executive Director, Richard Moore. It was this that inspired Lauren’s family and friends to fundraise for the charity which works in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

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Inside one of the new classrooms.

Richard Moore said: “It has been a wonderful honour for me to get to know the Bullock family. I feel privileged that they chose to support Children in Crossfire in Lauren’s precious memory. While I am delighted that two new classrooms have now been built in Tanzania because of funds they raised for us, it goes without saying that I deeply wish this project might have come about in very different circumstances.

“One of the great challenges Children in Crossfire face as we implement our pre-primary education programme is the lack of quality classrooms in schools. Overcrowding is a near universal problem, which limits the impact we can make. To overcome that obstacle, we work with local communities to build and equip new classrooms. It is a remarkable tribute to Lauren that the Mapinduzi community reacted to her story by mobilising enough additional resources to complete a second classroom at their school in her memory.

“Thanks to Lauren’s family and friends, thousands of children will get a better education over many years to come. Something positive has emerged out of Lauren’s tragic loss; and I hope Mary, Martin, Ryan and Shane will take comfort in knowing that this will always be a part of her legacy.”

Lauren’s mother, Mary, said: “Lauren cared very deeply about children. She had told us about hearing Richard Moore speak at school and being very impressed with the work Children in Crossfire does. Sadly, she will never be able to fulfil her dream of becoming a social worker and making life better for vulnerable children here. However, these new classrooms built in her memory will do exactly that for children growing up in disadvantage in Tanzania. As we mark her third anniversary, we take inspiration from her beautiful life and wonderful legacy.

The two new classrooms built by Children in Crossfire in memory of Lauren Bullock.

“We want to thank Richard and the Children in Crossfire team for ensuring these classrooms were built so quickly. We are so pleased that Lauren’s name will be known to children on the other side of the world. While they may never fully know who she was, they will understand and appreciate what she left behind and the positive difference it has made for them. That fills us with pride in our wonderful Lauren.”

Lauren Bullock.