Ottery family set for incredible trip across the globe

An Ottery family are gearing up for the trip of a lifetime to the other side of the world.

Ian and Katie Drew, along with their two daughters Lara and Erin, will be spending three months on islands in Melanesia doing voluntary work.

The trip is inspired by the first Bishop of Melanesia, who was born and raised in Ottery St Mary, attending The King’s School in the early 19th century.

Katie, who is the administrator at Ottery Parish Church, said helping to improve links between the Ottery and the group of pacific islands is why they chose the destination.

The family leave for Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, on Monday, where Erin, 6, and Lara, 8, will be enrolled at Norman Palmer School, something they are very excited about. Both girls attend Feniton Primary School, and have been given questions by their classmates to ask while they are away.

The answers, along with pictures and other updates, will be put on a blog by the Drew family so everyone back home can keep abreast of their trip.

Ian meanwhile, who works for Devon County Council’s IT department, will be using his computer skills to help the islanders get online.

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Katie will be spending time assisting the local Mother’s Union, and has already raised more than �500 through fundraising events to pay for much-needed mosquito nets across Melanesia.

The Drew family will be following in the footsteps of John Coleridge Patterson, who was inspired to travel to the islands east of Australia by his former tutor at Eton, who had then become the bishop of New Zealand.

Unfortunately he was murdered by natives who mistook him for a slave trader, but strong links between Ottery and Melanesia have remained strong since then.

Katie hopes she can add to those, adding: “We want to find some projects worth helping over there so we can then come back and raise money towards them.”

If you want to keep abreast of the Drew family’s progress check out