Author Archives: Charlotte Gale

I am a geography graduate with a passion for travel and photography. My constant desire to discover new places and cultures and to get off the beaten track has led me to explore large parts of Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East. Following a 6 year career in internet marketing, I now run a successful photography business.

Kids Aloud Concert in Harrogate

On 8 May 2015 choirs, mainly from Primary Schools from around the Harrogate district, will come together in the Royal Hall to give the fourth charity “Kids Aloud” concert organised by the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes. However, this concert will be very different from those that preceded it. The second half will be devoted to a world premiere performance by the young musicians of a new work, Circus of Life which they have helped to create.

Kids Aloud 2015

Circus of Life is a collaboration between local composer Philip Wilby, Brigantes club member Guy Wilson, and the young singers. Philip is well-known locally, especially for his work with the Black Dyke Band, and has collaborated on choral commissions before with Guy. Philip and Guy have provided a storyline and musical framework; the young musicians have worked on the words and music of the songs they will sing; and Philip and Guy are now pulling all these elements together into a coherent whole. If the rehearsal I attended and photographed is anything to go by, the final performance looks set to be both compelling and innovative.

Kids Aloud 2015

Kids Aloud 2015

Kids Aloud 2015

Kids Aloud 2015

In an engaging and exciting way the work uses a mix of poetry, folk tale and song to tell the story of evolution, highlight the plight of six endangered species and allow the young performers to teach us adults a timely lesson about looking after the creatures with whom we share this planet.

Kids Aloud 2015

Kids Aloud 2015

Kids Aloud 2015

Previous “Kids Aloud” concert have proved to be memorable occasions for the young musicians involved. This one, with the young singers giving the first performance of a work that they have helped to create, should be something that they will remember for the rest of their lives, and we hope for some will be transformative.

Copyright in the new work is being vested in the Brigantes’ Club so there is one body that can encourage further performances. Philip and Guy are giving their services freely. Harrogate Borough Council Arts and Heritage Grant Fund has awarded the project a grant and energy company CNG is providing sponsorship support.

In past years a combination of ticket sales, donations and sponsorship has produced a substantial profit that has been donated to nominated good causes, thus giving the young musicians involved the added fulfilment of knowing that they have helped others less fortunate than themselves. This year we are hoping to raise between £6000 and £10,000 (the sum depending on number of tickets sold and number of adverts bought in the programme) for Harrogate Brigantes’ two current international projects – the provision of a sustainable supply of clean water in Africa through Sand Dams and the Club’s own IT and literacy project that is bringing computer skills to a remote valley in Nepal.

As part of the experience the young students and their schools have been invited to produce artwork to illustrate the stories told in Circus of Life. A competition was run for the best picture summarising Circus of Life. The winner, Sophie Brennan of North Rigton Church of England Primary School, was presented with a book token on 26 February by Brigantes’ President Peter Wood and CNG representative Abi Aldred. Her picture is being used on all the show’s marketing material and on the programme covers.

Singing in the concert will be choirs from Harrogate (Bilton Grange Community Primary School, Oatlands Community Junior School, Richard Taylor Church of England Primary School, Rossett Acre Primary School, St Aidan’s Church of England High School, St Peter’s Church of England Primary School), Knaresborough (Aspin Park Community Primary School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School) and Leeds (North Rigton Church of England Primary School). They will be accompanied by the Tewit Youth Band and conducted by Mark Pallant, Director of Music at St Aidan’s High School.

Kids Aloud 2015

Guy Wilson commented: “We are trying to involve the students in as much of the creation and production of the show as possible. We hope the process and the end result will be for them an inspiring and unforgettable experience. Their efforts deserve a full house and I hope the people of Harrogate district will come and support them.”

Tickets (£10 adults, £6 children) are available from the Harrogate Box Office (Harrogate Theatre, Oxford Street, tel 01423 502116, e-mail,


The performance on May 8 will be both joyful and poignant because of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Part of the money raised for the concert is going to help sustain the Brigantes’ IT and literacy project in the Panchamul Valley, near Pokhara. Many of those involved in organising this concert have been to Nepal a number of times working on this and other projects and are currently very concerned for their many friends and colleagues there. The Rotary movement is helping raise funds for disaster relief and to establish much-needed food kitchens.

Old lady and child, Nepal

Brigantes President Peter Wood comments: “To put it bluntly, the more seats that we sell for the Kids Aloud Concert, the more funds we’ll be able to send to Nepal to help with disaster relief, general reconstruction, and repairing the damage done to our own project.” At the last count there were about 270 seats left to sell. Librettist Guy Wilson said “Originally we wanted to fill the Royal Hall to give the young people who have worked so hard on this musical project the experience of their lives. Now, we have another reason to sell out – the dire need of the people of Nepal for whom all who have visited there will have a very deep affection. Please come, and enjoy a fabulous evening and help us help them.”

Children in Nepal giving Namaste greeting

Posted in Latest Work, News Tagged , , , , |

Changing Young Lives in Nepal Project

In February 2014 I journeyed out to Nepal to photograph the long running Rotary project ‘Changing Young Lives in Nepal’, with a view to raising its profile back in the UK.

Nepalese Children

This IT, Literacy and Economic Regeneration project was initiated by Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club in 2010 and aims to change lives at a grass roots level in the remote upland Panchamul Valley in Nepal. So far the project has helped ten schools and hundreds of families and children through the provision of solar power, IT equipment & training, literacy & numeracy initiatives and micro loans. Indeed it has been so successful that the project team are currently looking to replicate their model in other remote valleys in the country. As 70% of the Nepalese population live in rural areas, there is much scope for expansion.



Teams of Rotarians from Yorkshire with specialist knowledge in IT, business and education make regular visits to the Panchamul Valley to volunteer their time and expertise and audit the progress of the project. Whilst this was my first visit to the country, many other members of my project team had visited 5 or 6 times and had developed strong ties with both the local villagers and also Rotarians such as Major Lil Gurung at our partner club, the Himalayan Gurkhas in Kathmandu. Indeed with their infectious smiles and sense of resilience, it is easy to see why the Nepalese people have found a special place in the hearts of so many of our team.

Classroom in Nepal Microloan Pigs in Nepal School Children in Nepal
IT training in Nepal

Handing out pencils in Nepal

School Children in Nepal

School children wave to their pen friends


























My lasting memories of Nepal were ones of song, dance, colour, smiles, stunning landscapes and a rich cultural and spiritual heritage (and of course bumpy roads!).

Villagers in Nepal

Traditional dancing in Nepal

Lake Fewa, Pokhara

Bus station in Nepal

I stayed with a local family in the remote upland village of Sirubari, eating traditional home grown food and washing daily in a bucket of cold water.

Panchamul Valley, Nepal

Conditions were basic. Electricity was limited, food was prepared on an open fire in the kitchen and many of the villagers were subsistence farmers, enduring harsh living conditions and almost entirely cut off from the outside world, especially during the Monsoon rains (June – September).

Cooking on an open fire in Nepal

Subsistence Farming, Nepal

However, they were some of the most welcoming and friendly people I could hope to meet and I was overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude for the work that we were doing to help the people of their Valley. I have put together a short video which hopefully gives a better insight into the people and culture of this beautiful country:


Nepal Earthquake Disaster 2015

It therefore fills me with great sadness to think that this beautiful but already impoverished nation has had to endure further suffering in the wake of this devastating earthquake. Reports on the news and also from our own sources in Nepal paint a grim picture. Many lives have been lost, along with parts of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Whole villages close to the epicentre of the earthquake have been completely decimated and their residents left without shelter and in many cases, food.

Many of these settlements are very remote and a lack of infrastructure, coupled with landslides, are making them hard to access. Like the villagers in the Panchamul Valley, many are subsistence farmers and a failure of crops and loss of livestock and seeds for new season planting can be catastrophic, especially with the Monsoon season approaching imminently. Many villagers also have no access to heavy lifting machinery for rescue operations and there are reports of survivors digging at the rubble with their bare hands.

Old lady and child, Nepal



























The immediate need for assistance is obviously very real as Nepal struggles to cope with the sheer scale of this disaster, which is estimated to have affected 8 million people and killed and injured many 1000s. However, there will also be a need for support and reconstruction in the longer term.

Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club have set up a fund to support ongoing and sustainable Rotary projects in Nepal. You can donate online at the following link:

Alternatively, if you would like to support the Rotary ‘Changing Young Lives’ project in the Panchamul Valley, you can find out more information here:

Fortunately initial reports from the Panchamul Valley indicate that casualties have been minimal compared to some other parts of the country. Some houses are reported to have collapsed in the village of Sirubari and surrounding area and others have structural damage which is likely to be compounded by the oncoming Monsoon, but the schools we support seem to be still largely intact. Thankfully the fact that the earthquake happened on a Saturday meant that the children weren’t in school, thereby minimising casualties. We should have further details regarding damage to the project’s IT infrastructure once it has been assessed by a technician, but initial reports suggest that there has been repairs will definitely be necessary.

4 June 2015 – Nepal Earthquake Update from Major Lil Gurung MBE (Rotary Club of the Himalayan Gurkhas, Kathmandu) and Barry Pollard (Changing Young Lives in Nepal Project Team Leader, Harrogate)

Major Lil Gurung


The population in Nepal are still in a state of significant shock, particularly in a 100 mile radius from the epicentre region of Gorkha. Aftershocks occur daily, anything up to 5.5 on the Richter scale. In Kathmandu there is no drinking water as all the supply pipes are broken or distorted. Over 1 million people have fled the city, afraid to live in their damaged houses. Of those buildings which did not come down, many are damaged with severe cracking including schools, hospitals and homes. Many people are living outside in tents; lessons are being taught this way as are patients being treated in hospitals. There is a need for trauma counselling for many patients. 30% of the shops are still closed and there are major food and goods shortages.

Some 70% (20 million) of the population of Nepal live in rural areas, mainly in the 1000’s of foothill valleys. Only the extreme west and southern plain escaped the earthquake. For those in the epicentre radius, there has been major property damage, some villages have lost 90% of their homes as well as access to the road infrastructure, which is itself damaged.

Food reserves to tide the people through the oncoming monsoon season, normally stored in the lofts of houses, have been lost as houses have collapsed.

The Oncoming Monsoon

This poses a number of challenges … firstly the need to ensure that the population in remote areas have food and protection to see them through this period up to the middle or end of September. Secondly the force of the rain will almost certainly bring down many more buildings and houses already significantly damaged by the earthquake. The monsoon last year was very severe with many of the aid agencies, for example Shelter Box, deploying emergency aid. People and animals were swept away by surging river foods and major landslides. The Panchamul Valley was cut off to the outside world for just over a week as the ‘road’ access was blocked.

Fundraising Update (Harrogate Brigantes and Rotary District 1040 Appeal) and Distribution of Funds via Himalayan Gurkhas Rotary Club, Kathmandu

To date Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club have raised nearly £4000 through various bucket collections. Money has already been sent out to Nepal via the central Yorkshire District 1040 appeal; providing food, CGI sheeting and Anderson Shelters. As a result nearly a 1000 households and over 2000 families have been helped directly so far. The emphasis has been to help people survive the monsoon, after which more money will be needed in order to get the people back to some level of normality.

Our partners in the Himalayan Gurkhas Rotary Club in Kathmandu, are probably uniquely placed to direct aid to the villages which need our support. Most of the Club’s Rotarians are ex Gurkhas and were recruited from villages in remote areas. They continue to keep in touch with their place of birth. For example, Major Lil Gurung, our main project co-ordinator in Nepal, was born in the Panchamul Valley and was educated at the school where we fitted our first IT suite. The same applies to the other villages where the Rotary District 1040 appeal has directed aid, this being two villages in the Gorkha region, a village to the east of Kathmandu and seven villages in the Panchamul valley.

Nepalese Rotarians have visited each of the supported villages to distribute the aid and will identify any further needs subsequent to their visits, particularly those relating to monsoon survival.

There is also a further formal request likely to come in this week for another village in the Gorkha region which has lost most of its houses.

Once the monsoon season is fully under way, it will be difficult to achieve much more until it passes. The next challenge will be to assess the scale of infrastructure damage to buildings e.g. schools and houses and evaluate where further funds should be directed in order to get people back to some level of normality.

Children in Nepal giving Namaste greeting

Kids Aloud – May 2015

On 8 May 2015 choirs, mainly from Primary Schools from around the Harrogate district, came together in the Royal Hall to give the fourth charity “Kids Aloud” concert organised by Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club. The second half was devoted to a world premiere performance by the young musicians of a new work, Circus of Life which they had helped to create. The piece was a collaboration between local composer Philip Wilby, Brigantes club member Guy Wilson, and the young singers.

Kids Aloud Concert in aid of Nepal

The event was a great success and a combination of ticket sales, donations and sponsorship have produced a £10,000 profit which has been donated to Harrogate Brigantes’ two current international projects – the provision of a sustainable supply of clean water in Africa through Sand Dams and the Club’s own IT and literacy project that is bringing computer skills to a remote valley in Nepal.

Find out more


Nepal Team Presentation


Nepal Earthquake Appeal Dinner – September 2015

On the 19 September 2015, The Crown Hotel in Harrogate very kindly hosted a charity black tie dinner (five course meal, live jazz, guest speaker Major Lil Gurung MBE and DJ) in aid of the Nepal Earthquake appeal. The event was the brainchild of Crown General Manager, Sheldon Baudach and was attended by over 100 corporate and private guests from as far afield as Kathmandu.

Given my close links with Nepal, I was one of the main organisers of the event and I am indebted to my family, friends and clients for their support and generosity.

March 2016 Update

Barry Pollard from Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club journeyed back out Nepal to monitor the progress of a goat farm which is being established in a remote area using funds raised by Yorkshire Rotary Clubs.


April 2017 Update

Following an upgrade program to the technical infrastructure in the Panchamul Valley, Andy Morrison and his wife Jayne of Andisa IT ran the area’s very first Technology Tournament. Children from various schools were set technical challenges and given a small amount of materials to complete them.

Funding and support from Microsoft and Leeds Rotary Club will also mean that the Panchamul Valley project can be replicated in a further 12 schools in the adjacent Andi Khola valley.


Kid’s Aloud Monkey Boy 2019

Between now and 2019 the Nepal project team will help children from both Harrogate and Nepal create a new musical work based on the Nepali folk story ‘Monkey Boy’, which they will perform together in Harrogate.

Find out more here 


Posted in News Tagged , , |

Win for Blackburn Wing at RIBA Awards 2015

During the past fifteen months I have photographed the progress of the £6 million redevelopment of Bowcliffe Hall in Bramham on behalf of Conlon Construction and Jonathan Turner of the Bayford Group.

It is always nice to get the opportunity to follow a project through to completion, so I was delighted to learn that the stunning Blackburn Wing was a winner at the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards 2015 on Thursday evening. Further more Jonathan Turner was awarded ‘Client of the Year 2015’ at the same event. You can learn more about the project in the following video:

Jonathan Turner and Neil Conlon

Drill at Bowcliffe Hall

Workman at Bowcliffe Hall

Blackburn Wing at Bowcliffe Hall




Posted in Latest Work, News Tagged , , , , , |