A FORMER pupil at Monkton Coombe School near Limpley Stoke has received a traditional title from Nigeria.

Seth Thomas, 18, who is now studying music at Solent University in Southampton, helped to raise £50,000 to build a health centre in the village of Asso in the north of the country.

Asso is in the South Kaduna region of northern Nigeria, home to the Fulani militia, who target the villagers with violence in order to take their land and homes.

Mr Thomas, of Farnham in Surrey, first visited the village in October 2017 and met Jude, 15, whose leg had been infected from a bullet wound.

He was inspired to do something that would make a life-changing difference, so he set about raising £35,000 of the £50,000 needed to build a health centre.

He proposed that the centre be Monkton’s designated charity for 2017-18 and a number of events were set up including a Colour Run which raised just over £4,900.

Parents, staff and pupils also got involved in the fundraising programme that ran throughout the year.

In total, the school raised nearly £15,000 towards the project.

In just over a year since his visit, Mr Thomas managed to raise the remainder of the money and the centre is now built.

Last month (Feb) Mr Thomas visited Asso to to officially open the new facility which has appropriately been named after him.

The Paramount Ruler of Kagoma Kingdom, HRH Colonel Paul Zakka Wyom, conferred on him the rare traditional title of ‘Byeh Gwong’ which means ‘Helper of Kagoma’.

HRH Wyom said “Our people will remain eternally grateful to Seth for his kind heart. The clinic will benefit Asso and many other communities in the area.”

Mr Thomas said: “People told me it was impossible for me to raise the £50,000 needed for this clinic, but I was spurred on by the constant image in my mind of these wonderful people who were suffering without complaint.

“I now want to tell the story to inspire young people everywhere; we really can make a difference.”

Monkton Coombe School principal Chris Wheeler said: “It is amazing to see how much ambitious young people can achieve and I was delighted Monkton could play a part in this story.

“Even more remarkable is that, far from being satisfied with all he has achieved already, Seth is now going on to found a charity which helps and supports other young people to make the same journey.

“Many pupils took part in this journey but I was delighted to see Seth’s leadership of it recognised in the village at Asso where the money raised will make a real difference to people living incredibly tough lives.”