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Winston's Welcome at the Yallahs Primary School

Published:Friday | January 8, 2016 | 1:00 AMShanna Kaye Monteith
Winston Welcome greets principal of Yallahs Primary School, Yvette Graham.
Winston Welcome pauses to join the children in a game of netball.
Winston Welcome poses with two of the children attending the treat.
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If there's any place in Jamaica where Winston is 'Welcome' it's at the Yallahs Primary School in St Thomas, where for the past year, he has been making a difference in the lives of the students.

Winston Welcome, the Good Samaritan saw there was a need at the school and wasted no time in acting upon it.

The native Jamaican, now living and working in England, has been hosting treats and donating computers and sporting equipment to the school since last year.

It all started when Welcome was visiting the parish and accompanied someone to the institution.

"One day I saw a child and the shoes he was wearing wasn't appropriate and it brought tears to my eyes. I felt it because I remember how I grew up. I used to work to provide for myself from I was 12, so I have a special place in my heart for kids in need. So I went to the teacher and asked what I could do to help," he said.

Ever since that day, Welcome has taken the school under his wings' and with the help of Balfour Beatty, the construction company in the United Kingdom of which he is an employee, he has been supporting wherever he can at Yallahs Primary School.

The 43-year-old recently hosted his annual school-leaving treat which had children playing, eating and having a good time.

"We cater for all the children but pay more attention to the ones who aren't able to afford the usual class party. There are loads of snacks here, including popcorn, snow cone, ice cream ... everything that they require for a party, we have it.

"This is the second year that we're doing it and we hope to make it into an annual treat.

"We donated two computers last year and this year we will be giving two laptops along with the usual sporting items like cricket bats, tennis rackets, balls and sportswear," he said.

Welcome told The Gleaner that he was not originally from the parish but now owns property there and hopes to build a good relationship with the people living in St Thomas.

 

GRATITUDE

 

Principal of the primary institution, Yvette Graham, expressed her gratitude to the school's new-found friend.

"We're elated to have Mr Welcome here with us today. He was here last year and we had a wonderful time and he's back again, this time bigger and better. The children look forward to him coming, especially those who cannot afford the usual class party. We invited out these children today and they are here enjoying themselves. So they are happy and we are happy.

"He came here at a time when somebody stole our computer, so he gave us two computers which came in very handy. He also gave us a football, some pencils, and things like that."

"He keeps in touch with me and it's surprising because he's a stranger in that I didn't know him at all. He just walked in one day and we talked and he said he's going to do something for the school and he stayed true to that promise," she said.

A teary-eyed Welcome nodded to acknowledge the gratitude shown to him.

He also revealed that he had plans for the community's clinic once he finalises negotiations with the people in charge.

According to him: "Once I get the go-ahead from the head doctor and the paperwork is sorted out, then I will be repainting and refurbishing the clinic and possibly create a smoking area where those who smoke can be separated from those who do not."