30th November 2018 — Lorcan Murphy and Arran Blevins, from Shrewsbury House School in Surbiton, along with Steve Blevins, founder of Conversion, met with Princess Beatrice while she was on a visit to Laos to support British NGOs delivering social projects and mine clearance in the country. Mr Blevins’ charity Conversion which started 3 years ago at Shrewsbury House School, collects used sports shoes and sends them to Laos to give to children used to playing sport in bare feet. The scheme has delivered around 1,000 pairs to children living in rural areas of Laos involved in a youth rugby development scheme so they don’t play barefoot or in flip-flops on often rough and stony grounds.
Mr Blevins said, “Our biggest challenge is to fund the transportation of the shoes to Laos, as there is no sea port. All the shoes we receive have to be sent by Airfreight, which is considerably more expensive." The boys are keen to raise awareness for the scheme in order to grow the scheme and secure funding to enable more children in this under developed country to enjoy simple pleasures of playing sport safely.
Lorcan Murphy said, “On our trip it was really sad to see a lot of the children playing on very poor surfaces. However, many children have already benefited from receiving shoes from the scheme and so we are slowing improving these conditions. It was really good to talk to Princess Beatrice about the Conversion charity and tell her all about the project.”
Headmaster Kevin Doble, of Shrewsbury House school, said: “The Shrewsbury House School community has been enormously proud to support the Conversion project for the last three years and will continue to do so. Thanks to the efforts of Mr Blevins, the donated shoes and sports shirts have made a big impact to the lives of the children involved in the project. We are delighted that the project continues to grow and hope that many more children will benefit from the scheme.”