Hi this is Mark Tilley. I’m thrilled to be a trustee of the charity started in my dad’s name. I’ve been involved for a long time with his African adventures. My aunt Liz Tilley has spent her whole career in East Africa as a missionary and, with several trips out to see her by family members, I think it’s rubbed off on the whole of our family. When visiting a developing country, you are overwhelmed by basic needs people have, but also how easily you can help. Dad loved to help, and get his hands dirty. When he was asked to help build a school by a local bishop in Tanzania, he was full of enthusiasm.
My first visit to Tanzania was in 1996 with a group of young people to help with a building project with a charity called Soapbox. It was a real eye opener for me. I think I personally benefit from being reminded of how much I have and that some really don’t have anything. A lot of life’s decisions can be based around the people we compare ourselves to, which is why my dad lived a very humble life considering how much he had.
I’ve had the change to go to see St Michael school in Kilolo last November where, as a charity, we have been in partnership from the start. It’s exciting to see the school progressing and also to get to meet the students and talk with them about how they are getting on. We also met 15 students who are sponsored by the foundation for their education.
I see my role in the David Tilley Children’s Foundation as a chance to help continue the work that my dad has started, and also to steer the charity always towards helping needy children to reach their potential. I think following in his footsteps is a big challenge, and keeping the momentum of the amounts of cash that he raised will be difficult too. The reasons for doing it make it easier and I will try to focus on that. My vision is to encourage others to go to Africa to see things for themselves to be inspired to do something about a world in need, and to see themselves as closer relations to someone in another country who might need their help.