Selfless Sidmouth teen needs readers’ help

Robyn needs to raise more than £4,000 for her trip.

Robyn needs to raise more than £4,000 for her trip. - Credit: Archant

A selfless Sidmouth teenager is set for an excursion to help poverty-stricken communities and endangered animals in Borneo, but needs the help of Herald readers.

Robyn Hansford has had her own obstacles in life, being almost completely deaf in one ear, but she is determined to help those in need on the Asian island, writes Beth Sharp.

The 16-year-old needs to raise £4,170 for a one-month life-changing trip to the Far East to help with the conservation of endangered orangutans, as well with communities in desperate need of new homes, schools, water pumps and more.

Robyn is one of a handful of Sidmouth College students who have signed up for the trip, which will take place between July and August next year, through Camps International.

Robyn, who is currently completing her GCSEs and working part-time at the Wyevale Sidmouth Garden Centre, has managed to raise just under £2,000. She has been donating all her wages to the cause and has also given up Christmas and birthday money. Robyn has also been selling belongings on eBay and collecting HP103 ink cartridges, which she sends off in batches for recycling in exchange for donations. The teen is appealing to anyone with old ink cartridges to donate them to her cause. As well as a number of other events, Robyn has also held an M&Co fashion show, which was attended by more than 60 people, raising more than £700.

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When Robyn was a little girl, her eardrum burst, leaving her completely deaf in one ear up until a year ago when she was told it had very slightly improved. Because of this, it is very painful for her to fly and she has to be very careful around water. Robyn said she saw the trip as an opportunity to prove herself. “I want to be on the same page as everyone else, I want to be treated the same as everyone else,” she told the Herald.

“I don’t think anyone with a disability, special need, or anything else like that, should be put on a different page, stopping them from doing what they want to do – they should be given an equal chance. Even when there are some things put in the way, I always think everybody has the ability to do what they want - whatever the circumstance.”

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Robyn said she was excited as the trip was something different she had not experienced - and probably never would again.

“It gives me self-satisfaction doing something good for someone,” she added. “When I help other people, it makes me feel 10 times better than what it would if I was doing something for myself.”

Robyn’s mum, Miranda, said her daughter had always had a natural gift for helping people, ever since she was little.

She added that when they went to Thailand last year, she had noticed Robyn asking people for change.

“It took us a couple of days to realise what she was doing with all this change – every time we went walking through the streets she was dropping it, giving it to the poor people on the streets.

“She is just one of those people who likes to do things for others.”

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