PE teacher to share expertise to help those living overseas

Andrew Bottomer
Andrew Bottomer

A PE teacher is planning to travel to Africa to pass on his knowledge and expertise to help improve teaching in underprivileged communities.

Andy Bottomer, 50, from Alnwick, aims to put more than 42 primary teachers through their paces during a three-day football coaching course in northern Malawi in July.

The initiative is being planned in conjunction with the country’s government and specifically the district sports officer in Chitipa – a district in northern Malawi.

The course will be based on limited resources, recycled materials and help raise more awareness about HIV/Aids.

The knowledge acquired will reach 175 primary schools after the course is rolled out by the district sports officer throughout the area.

Andy also intends to hold a one-day workshop with the 14 primary education advisers in Chitipa to guide them towards school sports.

He will also mentor the district sports officer and help him devise an achievable action plan for the coming year.

If the course is a success, the married father-of-two intends to repeat the exercise for the next five years to target other districts in northern Malawi.

He said: “This project means a lot to me. Chitipa is a remote, almost ignored part of Malawi and would benefit a huge amount from such a course.”

The project will see Andy return to Africa to help underprivileged communities.

He said: “I have been lucky enough to have lived and worked in sports in Malawi, Ghana, Nepal, Ethiopia and Uganda.

“In 1999-2000, I was a voluntary service overseas volunteer in northern Malawi challenged to rejuvenate school sports. It was a fantastic experience. I trained sports teachers and organised school-sports competitions in primary and secondary schools.

“We concentrated on football, netball, cross-country and athletics.  

“I revisited the area in January 2016, and met many old friends and colleagues who told me the legacy is still strong, but there has been a real lack of teacher training since I left over 15 years ago.”

Andy is fund-raising for the trip and has managed to collect around £1,000 via an online GoFundMe campaign. He has purchased 200 footballs and a return flight ticket.

He has had pledges of old/used kit and equipment from Alnwick Town Youth Football, Cramlington Learning Village, Bedlington Community High School and Paul Yeadon at Active Northumberland.

He believes he needs to raise a further £1,000 to cover air freight, course costs and visas. To donate to the cause, visit