About Us

Background to our Charity

The charity was formally set up in 2009 after informally supporting St. Michael’s for several years. Fiona, one of the Trustees, had a successful and formative time at St. Michael’s in her gap year in 2002. This led her to returning to the school in the following years and amongst other things starting the building of the library. Other visits followed by members of her family and volunteers too, all being overwhelmed by the love and friendship they experienced, and the need and desire to do something to help and sustain the bonds and relationships that had built up.

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It was decided that the best way give a clear focus and direction to the efforts to support the school both in practical ways on the ground and with fund raising was to form a charity specifically for that purpose, which happened in 2009. However St. Michael’s is a primary school situated next door to its sister school Bishop Willigers Secondary school. To encourage transition from primary to secondary it was felt necessary to encompass Bishop Willigers in the objects of the charity, as it too is desperately poor with even fewer facilities than St. Michael’s.

The charity is education and welfare-focused formed to advance the education and welfare not only of the approximately 600 children at the school but also its close neighbour and sister school Bishop Willigers Secondary School which its objects confirm. As a small charity with no overheads, such as salaries or rent, we are able to ensure that all donations go to where they are needed.

At least 2 of the trustees travel out separately on an annual basis to oversee the various projects, living at the school and getting involved with school life. Thanks to technology there is usually communication on a weekly basis with both the Headmistress and the School Management Committee, all working in partnership striving towards a better education for the marginalised “girl child” of Uganda.

Who we are

  • Matthew Devlin

    Matthew has retired from a career in Business, Banking and Management Consultancy. He is Master of Business Administration and sees his main role on the committee as helping the charity and the school consider some of the strategic issues of the proposed developments and funding issues . He is married to Rosemary and they have four children and 3 grandchildren. He is a Roman Catholic and a spiritual director. He is also involved in supporting Community Chaplaincy and its work … read more

  • Vicki Beach

    Vicki Beach is a founder member of Friends of St Michael’s and is primarily responsible for co-ordination and communication between the UK and the staff and the Management Committee at St. Michael’s. She oversees the implementation of the Development Plan as agreed by fellow Trustees and the School Management Committee. She visits St. Michael’s annually, usually in March to coincide with Easter. Much of her work concerns ensuring that the needs of the school are appropriately responded to and that … read more

  • Fiona Beach-MacGeagh

    Fiona first went out to St Michael’s Primary School in her Gap Year in 2002, where she worked as a volunteer teacher, for a Gap Year organisation. She was the first volunteer placed at the school and fell in love with the school and Uganda straight away. She has gone back every year since. Fiona works at a school in the UK and is able to spend up to five weeks a year at the school to oversee the various … read more

  • Mary Morrison

    Mary made her first visit to St. Michael’s School during the Easter 2013 visit. As a former teacher herself, and with a specialism in helping children suffering from dyslexia, she is a valuable addition bringing expertise to bear on the need to improve reading and understanding skills to the pupils and how to best achieve this. She is married and was head of The Learning Support Centre at Millfield School, Somerset for 12 years. Before that she headed up the … read more

  • Julian George

    Julian is a retired Solicitor having been managing partner of one of the largest and foremost firms in Wiltshire. His legal and general commercial expertise are invaluable to the charity – a reliable sounding board! He is married to Alison with children and grandchildren.

  • Sue-Lyn Cashman-Pugsley

    Sue-Lyn and Fiona have been friends since school and it was through their friendship that Sue-Lyn became aware of the charity’s work. Fiona’s passion for the charity inspired Sue-Lyn to support the school through Regular Giving and to eventually visit the school in August 2015. During her visit she assisted the orphans with their reading, organised a class debate, helped the Rev. Sisters with administrative tasks and provided the students and teachers an insight into her life as a city … read more

  • Kay Hudson

    Kay first travelled to St Michaels with Vicki’s daughter Lizzie in 2009, during the summer of their first year at Bristol University. They spent a blissful month doing sport and crafts with the girls during their summer holiday. Kay graduated in Politics from Bristol in 2011 and now works as a stage manager in London. She has continued her relationship with the school and the charity ever since, and made a long awaited return to St Michaels in 2014, assisting … read more

  • Elvin Luff

    Web developer, outdoor pursuits leader, systems administrator and Ambassador for Friends of St Michaels Uganda – these are all skills that Elvin prides himself in. Elvin’s responsibility for FSMU is to manage the online strategy for the charity and keep the website in check. While others such as Nick Beach provide the writing for him to work with, Elvin is in charge of the design and feel of the website, and making sure that everything keeps working. He’s currently 18 years old and … read more

How we work

We are a small “kitchen table” UK registered charity. By this we mean we have no premises, only our own homes, and no equipment except that which we use in our everyday lives. Our trustees all volunteer their time and experience.

At least 2 of the trustees travel to the school to oversee the projects on an annual basis and all donations and money received is used in support of the charity objects, no salaries are paid. We feel strongly that all money given to the charity goes to help the school to support the various projects and initiatives. In this way all donations and money go directly to where they are needed.

We work closely with St Michael’s school, staff, parents and school management to ensure that all money and gifts are being spent wisely and on projects that are sustainable. Communication with the school and management takes place frequently. In this way our support can be focussed, relevant and up to date.

Here in the UK the trust is managed by the 5 trustees who meet at least 4 times a year and who otherwise communicate with each other by telephone and the internet. Good communication is essential, and happens.