Morgan visits in Baticaloa

Before I left for Sri Lanka, I'd arranged to do some volunteer work for Ocean Stars Trust (OST).

OceanStars :: Friday 30th September 2016 :: This Story

OST are a children's charity, founded in 2005 to support underprivileged children, families and communities in Sri Lanka following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

I left Trinco and arrived in Batticaloa (Batti; where OST are based) following a rare comfortable bus journey. Diana and Kiru welcomed me with beaming smiles before taking me to my guesthouse, which was nestled among the windy, dusty backroads of Kallady. We talked through the plan for the next four days. I was to visit three 'projects' (a secondary school and two preschools) where I'd assist in lessons.

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Read my full report at:


My first two days with OST were eye opening, sad, fun, interesting and intriguing. To have 10 year olds speak so frankly about their home hardships was initially hard to take. However, seeing their pearly whites shine as I we played games and I told them about home reminded me the kids were in good hands at school. It was a chance for the children to learn, have fun, be kids. Amazingly, many of the children's parents still need convincing that school is worthwhile. As well as the standard curriculum, in which the children are taught nine subjects, I'm convinced a tie with a foreign school – thanks to OST – can only help in educating the parents, for their children benefit from visits from people like myself.

Fabulous Cake Sale

On Sunday 25th September Amy and Sophie held an Ocean Stars Trust afternoon tea at Amy's parent's house to raise money for the October trip to Sri Lanka.

OceanStars :: Monday 26th September 2016 :: This Story

There were a delicious and huge range of cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee, baked by friends and family. It was a great opportunity to talk about the amazing work Ocean Stars does and to share what we will be doing during the trip with everyone that attended and so kindly donated money to the charity!

An amazing £330 was raised!

We also had a slide show of all the photos Sophie took last year so everyone could see what ocean stars does.

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Christmas Craft Event

At which you will make three cards, have fun and raise money for a worthwhile cause.

OceanStars :: Wednesday 14th September 2016 :: This Story

In aid of Ocean Stars
On Saturday 15th October at
Church on the Heath,
Elvetham Heath GU51 1HA

10am-12.30 pm

Cost: £10

For which you will make three cards, have fun and raise money for a worthwhile cause

Refreshments will be provided

There will be a raffle with some great prizes

To book your place please contact

Christine: 01252 647237

Or Tracey-Anne: 01252 786371

A Volunteers Story

Shiva Logarajah (Third Year Law Student at Columbia Law School, New York, New York, USA) talks about his experience volunteering for Ocean Stars in Sri Lanka....

OceanStars :: Wednesday 14th September 2016 :: This Story

Picture: /files/latest-news/232/w288/volunteer.jpgOcean Stars ("OST") was an organization that I had only fleeting contact with before my first trip to Sri Lanka in August 2016.  Despite this, Dilanee and the OST Team went out of their way to organize a trip to visit some of their projects while I was there.  I visited the Mahadeva Children's Home in Killinochi, nurseries in the Batticaloa area (Amaplanthurai, Nallur & Karaveddy), and the Hope House in Amaplanthurai. 

On the whole, I was thoroughly impressed with the difference OST was making in people's lives in areas that have been devastated by war and natural disaster.  What really stuck with me was the fact that OST was going beyond the "life-support" aid that many of us tend to associate with NGOs operating in these sorts of environments.  The work OST was doing was, in fact, empowering people--particularly women and children--to be able to help themselves and their communities. 

I was born in the United States to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, and I have always been keenly aware of the suffering that people in Sri Lanka have endured after years of war and natural disaster.  OST is doing remarkable work--in a compassionate and well-appreciated manner--to help turn the page for many of these communities, and I look forward to supporting OST as it continues to assist people in Sri Lanka.


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Pub Quiz @ The Black Horse

Fantastic quiz night in Crookham Village

OceanStars :: Tuesday 6th September 2016 :: This Story

Find out more and Share the event at:

Morgan Applegarth prepares to volunteer for Ocean Stars in Sri Lanka

The first is slightly selfish. For years, I've wanted to go travelling; to quit my job, fill a backpack and see the world. But, with my career and other commitments the chance never really surfaced - until now.

OceanStars :: Monday 5th September 2016 :: This Story

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Long story short, I've quit my job, bought a backpack and am now planning to see the world.
I've always wanted a purpose to my travels that went beyond sampling the best beach bars in Southeast Asia. I wanted to do some good, give something back and experience day-to-day life of other cultures.
The second factor is my first (and, so far, only) visit to Sri Lanka. In December 2015, I toured the country with my sister and brother in law with help from a local guide. One of the many highlights of the trip was spending time with our guide, who shed light on many aspects of Sri Lankan culture. A topic that came up occasionally was the 2004 tsunami and how areas we were visiting were still coming to terms with that fateful event.
Hearing tales from a proud Sri Lankan about the devastation caused and driving through towns that were shadows of their former selves really humanised the scenes that I'd seen on TV. The more we talked about the tsunami's impact and the longer I spent in the country, the stronger my feelings toward the event grew. The stories and scenes were sad and I didn't like hearing or seeing them about a country I was quickly growing to love.
In planning my travels, I decided Sri Lanka would be my first destination. I spoke with a friend who's not only well travelled in the country but involved with OST. Knowing my motives for travelling she suggested I read up on, and got in touch with, OST.
I took her suggestions and learned about OST; what its done and continues to do. Not only was I impressed, but drawing on how I felt during my December trip I wanted to get involved. OST seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back to communities of a wonderful country, once so wrongly hurt.
I'm really looking forward to visiting OST projects in Batticaloa and am sure this is the start of a long relationship between myself and the charity.

Getting Active on fun day in aid of Ocean charity

Money to 'make a real difference' to children in Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Thursday 11th August 2016 :: This Story

Children have been treated to a day of fun in aid of a local charity.

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Everyone Active's Hart Leisure Centre, in Fleet, hosted a family fun day in aid of  Ocean Stars Trust.

Sandra Stokes organised the day and said "Having spent more than 30 years working with children under the age of five, I wanted to help young people in other countries benefit from better opportunities"

See the full report from Fleet News Wed 20th July

Howard Robson's Cycle Ride

Howard Robson cycles for Ocean Stars Trust and raises £800. Well done Howard!

OceanStars :: Wednesday 3rd August 2016 :: This Story

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

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Dear all, I just thought as a matter of courtesy I would let all you kind people know how I got on last Sunday, seeing as you have all been so kind and generous in offering help, advice, sponsorship and donations.

I duly arrived at the appointed hour and was in my slot 'E' at the Black start by 7.30 am. This was the easy bit, having been made easier than before by the offer of accommodation the previous night at Tim Allen's flat only a few miles from the Olympic Park. Thanks Tim!  The weather was good, and I didn't need my throwaway sweatshirt that I had packed as a contingency - the only concern was that the day might be too warm! The next hour passed quickly chatting to fellow cyclists around me, and our 'wave' set off at the scheduled time of 8.31 am. Each wave could choose music to set off by, and we left to the strains of 'it can only get better', which was better than last year when we had The Laughing Policeman!

In the commonly used expression by the younger generation, it was truly 'awesome' cycling through the traffic-free streets of London seeing all the famous landmarks, and not having to worry about traffic lights, cars and pedestrians! I quickly arrived in East Sheen, where I met up with my brother Mike and his wife Catherine who gave me moral support before the climb up Sheen Lane into Richmond Park. A slow down in the Park due to a couple of minor pile ups (seems to happen there every year), and then it was a pull into the first 'Hub' near Hampton Court for a quick grab of water and loo-stop.

I was very pleased with my progress, and my average speed was about 16 mph for the first two hours, meaning that I should be on target for a finishing time of about 7 hours, bearing in mind I still had the Surrey hills to do. Unfortunately that all unravelled at about mile 38/39 when we were all held up for about an hour and a half due to a 'serious incident'. Being in a sea of stationary cyclists which stretched as far as the eye could see it was difficult to know what was happening, and rumours abounded. We knew it must be something serious as helicopters were buzzing overhead. I now know that a total of 33 cyclists were taken to hospital, with 7 remaining in hospital, 3 seriously injured, following a nasty accident at Pyrford. Also sadly one person died from cardiac arrest.

After that, all thought of getting a 'time' went out of the window, and it was just a case of getting on with it, and wondering how we would get back to London and what contingency plans and diversions would be put into place. A quick stop at the second hub at the top of Newlands Corner and then it was full speed ahead, but not for long because by now most of the 26,000 cyclists had bunched up so badly that we came to a grinding halt at every pinch point. Because of the delays the organisers decided to cut out Leith Hill for most of the riders, myself included. So I got to the finish in The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace at 5.15 pm having ridden 93 miles. A total time of 8 hours 45 mins, which means I did it in about 7 hrs 15 mins by the time you take off the delay. In fact probably much quicker if you take into account all the other delays and pit stops. Also I had covered over 100 miles taking into account the ride to the start and back to Waterloo station at the end. And no punctures!

I was naturally disappointed with my time, but our thoughts and sympathy must go out the friends and families of those who were not so lucky.

On the positive side I have raised over £800 for Ocean Stars, and am looking forward to going out to Sri Lanka in October to see this money being put to good use. I have been told by Just giving that I was in the top 5% of fundraisers in July!

Once again a huge thank you to all of you.


Charity Cycle

Jo Barton, an Ocean Stars Trustee & Janine Dunbar, an Ocean Stars supporter will be travelling to Northumberland on July 26th to cycle 100 miles along the Hadrian's Wall Cycleway on July 27th & 28th.

OceanStars :: Monday 18th July 2016 :: This Story

They are hoping the weather will be kind to them! If you would like to support them in any way, here is the Just Giving Link:

Quiz Night

For Ocean Stars

OceanStars :: Sunday 10th July 2016 :: This Story

91 people gathered at Fleet Town Football Club for an Ocean Stars Quiz night.

Ocean Star Charity Quiz nightPicture: /files/latest-news/225/w288/img-1632.jpg

Our quiz Master was the now famous, dynamic and humorous, quiz guru of Fleet Mr Mike Gardner. A very enjoyable evening was had by all. Dominos pizzas fed the brains during the break and there was a raffle with 11 amazing hampers to be won.

The evening raised £1200 for the work of Ocean Stars Trust. Thank you to everyone who attended our Quiz pm.