Eleven year old Bath school girl Hester will be taking to the streets of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia when she takes part in the Women First Run in Addis Ababa, all to raise funds for blind Ethiopian children.

Diagnosed blind as a baby, Hester has never let it hold her back and is certainly no stranger to setting herself some challenging goals. An alpine skier and future Paralympic hopeful, Hester completed 100 sports in 100 days in 2017 to raise funds for her Visually Impaired Ski Racing Team.

This coming March she will be finding out for herself what it is like to be a blind student in Ethiopia when she visits children supported at the Mekele School for the Blind by Bath based charity Ethiopiaid.

Hester, a student at King Edward’s School in Bath, works hard to maintain high academic standards. She loves to sing, play the piano and like any other girl her age enjoys hanging out with her friends. She trains with Precise Racing VI team and is part of Bath University’s Future Athletes development programme.

Without an education the lives of the blind in Ethiopia are extremely limited. A good education is the only way to access an independent and self-sufficient adult life, without this many blind children and adults face a life of begging to survive.

Hester has plans to eventually go to university and is looking forward to meeting the children at the Mekele school to find out what life is like for them and share their hopes and dreams.

Having the benefit herself, throughout her school life, of specialist support from the Bristol Sensory Support service and from her wonderful teachers and teaching assistants, Hester hopes that she can ‘pass it on’ by raising funds to help improve the educational life of the children at the school, so they too can hope for a rewarding and successful future.

Hester says, “I love school and I want other blind children to have the same opportunity to learn and play that I have had.

“I am very lucky and have had some wonderful teaching in school and in sport. I feel that, if I put the effort in, I can do anything that I want to do.

“I am really looking forward to the run and want to raise as much money as I can so that I can bring bring specialist equipment to the school and support the children to fulfil their hopes and dreams too.”

Hester will be joined by her ski coach, Charlotte Evans MBE, Gold Medallist Paralympic Alpine Ski Race Guide, (both pictured above) in the Women First 5K Run in Ethiopia on Sunday 10 March 2019. This will be a return to guiding (albeit on rather different terrain) for Charlotte who will guide Hester during the run.

To launch this challenge and kick start her fundraising, Hester has organised a candlelit concert with the Bath Abbey’s Aquae Sulis Chorale on Saturday 19 January 2019 at Bathwick St Mary’s church in Bath, 6.30 – 8pm.

The Aquae Sulis Chorale will perform a variety of choral and operatic pieces and it promises to be lovely evening. Tickets are available on the door priced at £15 to include a welcome drink.

To donate to Hester’s fundraising challenge please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hester-poole2. The first £5,000 raised by Hester will be matched pound for pound thanks to a generous donor.