Russell Brand, Miss Northern Ireland and Alison Clarke are supporting a local woman’s house-building campaign for Nepal earthquake victims.
The author of “My Booky Wook,” who interviewed Ed Miliband during the general election campaign, posed for a photo for Islandmagee woman Jane Prendy’s “Hats off for Nepal” campaign during a gig in aid of Nepal at London’s Comedy Club.
Meanwhile, Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell, who studies at Ulster University in Jordanstown, and Alison Clarke, wife of golfer Darren Clarke, posed for pictures at the Belfast headquarters of Alison’s firm acamodels.com.
Jane Prendy, whose mother 77-year-old mother Marita was stuck in Nepal for two weeks after the original massive earthquake, launched the “Hats off for Nepal” social media campaign in order to draw attention to the family’s Go Build-Nepal initiative.
The scheme seeks to raise £4000 to build ten homes for impoverished earthquake victims in the country, particularly members of the Dalit caste, known as the “untouchables.”
Jane, whose niece Caroline Ness approached Russell Brand, told The Times that the sought-after picture nearly didn’t happen: “When they entered the building they were told it was off,” she revealed.
“It was only by chance that Caroline’s boyfriend went out for a cigarette and met Russell Brand in the smoking area taking selfies with his fans.
“He agreed to hold the topi rather than wear it because of his hair, but it’s fantastic to get the backing of such a well-known celebrity.”
The campaign has also attracted the support of homegrown celebrities, including Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell and Alison Clarke.
“Leanne is so beautiful, friendly and approachable and Alison is a very strong, impressive lady,” said Jane.
“They were really supportive of our campaign. Leanne said she is going to post the photo onto her Twitter so that we will get more followers and raise awareness.”
Leanne commented: “When I saw the heartbreaking images from Nepal, I couldn’t help but want to do something. It’s an honour to be involved in the ‘Hats off for Nepal’ campaign and I hope to help the team reach their £4000 target to provide aid for people in need and rebuild Nepal. I will keep Nepal in my heart.”
MD of ACA Models Alison Clarke added: “Both Leanne McDowell, the Therapie Miss Northern Ireland 2015, and I are delighted to support the Hats Off For Nepal Campaign by wearing the hat to help raise awareness of the terrible disaster in Nepal and keep it in the forefront of everyone’s mind. It was one of the most horrific earthquakes ever and its so important we all try to do some little thing to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
“We wish the campaign every success for the future and look forward to getting some of our models involved in the campaign also.”
Meanwhile, Jane paid tribute to the generosity of the local public, and revealed that her family are hoping to travel to Nepal this summer to help with the rebuilding efforts.
“Our Go Build-Nepal campaign has already raised £2,820 in three weeks, which we are quite surprised about, but then people here are very generous,” she said.
“We are asking people not just for money, but to think about our friends across the world and keep them in their prayers.”
The family are hoping to have raised enough money to travel to Nepal to begin the building this August. Jane says they plan to build the houses in her husband Rishi’s home village of Lamjung, near the epicentre of the earthquake.
“We have the local knowledge there to identify the people who are most in need,” she explained.
“We will make sure that the money goes straight to building homes for the victims and we want to work directly with the people in need. We will be using our connections with expats and people who are married to Nepalis or have lived in Nepal for a long time, as well as with the Northern Ireland Nepalese Association.
The family are now appealing for the help of local businesses to hold a fundraising event, such as an evening of Nepalese dancing or a candlelit vigil, in aid of Nepal.
“We are working on the idea of holding something in Carrick in July and we are looking for a venue from which to base ourselves such as a cafe,” explained Jane.
“We would like to have an evening of music, a video of Nepal, members of the Nepali Association and women in saris. If any local businesses think they can help we would love them to get in touch with us,” she concluded.
To donate to the Go Build-Nepal campaign, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/uju8g4mg. Facebook users can submit a picture in support of the campaign to the Hats off for Nepal page.