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       January 2022           Written by the community for the community

       Where people tell their stories      No. 77       50p where sold
       Cheering our readers in Ilkeston and surrounding districts
       Out of Africa

                                                                                    Heroes of the past year: Tracy Cunningham and Evie Hartley have been recognised by
       Lynn hopes to                                                                  elfless Tracy Cunningham was the   She says it was difficult to gain their trust at
                                                                                                                 BBC Radio Derby.
                                                                                                                         first because they have a tendency to back
       bring Bubacca                                                               Sdriving force behind the opening of   off from any health matters, choosing not to
                                                                                   Ilkeston’s winter shelter for the home-
                                                                                                                         attend hospital or GP appointments or engage
                                                                                   less in 2018.
       and Ebrima                                                                  And for the past two and a half years she   with other workers.
                                                                                                                         But a breakthrough came when she helped
                                                                                   has been the rough sleeper paramedic for
                                                                                                                         one of them who had overdosed.
                                                                                   homeless people in Derby.
       to Ilkeston                                                                 Tracy’s incredible work has earned her a   “Since I brought that person back round,
                                                                                                                         everything changed,” said Tracy.  “I’m kind
                                                                                   2021 BBC Radio Derby ‘Make a Differ-
                                                                                                                         of in with the gang now, sort of, I’m a bit like
                                                                                   ence’ award.
                                                                                   A video showing her at work on the streets   their mother to be honest!”
          roud Lynn Pestell saved two boys                                         of Derby city centre has been featured on   She has 200 patients on her books and rarely
                                                                                                                         has a day off.   Her charges think the world
       Pfrom poverty and travelled 3,800                                           TV.                                   of her.  When Radio Derby made the video,
       miles to see one of them star in a TV                                       Each day she goes out looking for any new   homeless people queued up to praise her with
                                                                                   rough sleepers and checking on the regu-
       show.                                                                       lars she knows, making sure they are all   comments like “She’s something left in my
       Now he is hoping to bring the pair to Il-                                   right and following up on their health and   world when I have nothing, she’s my star”
       keston from their home in the West African                                  medication.
       state of Gambia.                                                                                                                    Continued over the page
       The former bus conductor’s rescue mission
       began when he was on holiday with his wife
       Avril 14 years ago.
       They met brothers Bubacca and Ebrima who
       came to a tourist hotel.
       Since then, he has spent £4,000 on their ed-
       ucation with Ebrima becoming a computer
       expert and Bubacca a skilled carpenter.
       Ebrima, 23, is a famous face in Gambia be-  Brothers Bubacca (left) and Ebrim with
       cause of his Youtube exploits as a character    ‘Dad’ Lynn Pestell
       known as “Lil Chaser.”                tell, who has a VIP seat at the premiere of
       That has led to him taking the lead role in a   the series made for Gambian TV. The first
       TV series called “Second Chance,” telling   two 30-minute episodes will be shown in a
       of a “bad boy turned good.”           cinema.
       And yet it all started with a chance meeting   Speaking from Gambia, Ebrima said: “My
       when their mother was selling fruit and nuts   dad has really helped us.
       as she eked out a living as a single mum in a   “I wish I could get a proper job so I could
       squalid village.                      help my dad as well. He is my dad and has
       Mr Pestell, 80, recalls the moment as he sat   really helped me and my little brother.
       in a bar with his wife, who died four years   “I went to college for a good three years
       ago.                                  and thought I would have a good job but I
       “We said we would look after them and   didn’t.”
       brought them pop to drink. We always went   His brother Bubacca, 20, will be in the
       there for four weeks and as the boys got   audience to see the first viewing of Second
       older, it became the norm.            Chance.
       “Education is cheap there and £4,000 goes a   Ebrima added: “I am so excited. I want to
       long way.                             see what I have done.”
       “The boys call me dad and I am proud of   The boys never knew their natural father
       them. They could have a good life here   and hope to get permission to settle in
       because there is little work over there.  Ilkeston with Mr Pestell.
       “I don’t agree with boat people. I don’t   His only child Andrea died of cystic fibrosis
       want them to take that route. I want to bring   30 years ago aged 25. Her parents cam-
       them over here and have all the papers to   paigned to raise awareness of the disease.
       show my support of them,” said Mr Pes-

         Community theatre

         idea for Ilkeston - P6
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