Dougie and Bernie Leggett set up the charity and the journey to where it is now is typical of smaller charities working in the UK. The charity has never been about money it is just about helping children in Bulgaria as well as bringing together the community where they live in the UK who help to collect goods and raise the transport costs.
For a number of years Dougie and Bernie visited the country eventually buying a small house which they renovated in order to spend their holidays. Through this they got to know their neighbours, the villagers, their families and, more importantly, they got to know about the Dimcho Debelianov Orphanage.
They decided that they would bring what they could to help the children themselves. Dougie built a huge trailer with the intention of filling it with goods for the children and driving over. They had lots of help and collected goods from friends, family, work colleagues and Freecycle. The results were wonderful. Before they knew it, they had boxes and boxes to transport to Bulgaria. The trailer was almost finished when due to sudden illness, all their plans had to be changed, and the trip was delayed for 7 months.
They collected more than they could carry in a trailer, so they had to find another way of transporting the goods to Bulgaria, therefore, they contacted a Bulgarian transport company and they agreed to transport for just under £2,000. They had no other option but to pay for the transport of the goods – having come this far they could not let the children down now!
Finally, the boxes were delivered to the children on the 20th October 2008, the most wonderful experience ever experienced. Bernie and Dougie were so happy, even through all the problems they had encountered, the setbacks, Dougie’s ill health, extra costs etc., they had achieved their goal. It was just wonderful. The children were delighted and the donations made them so happy.
Bernie and Dougie decided there and then that this is what they wanted to do, to help those who are less fortunate than them.
Their aim is to send a lorry load out every year – hoping to get help with the goods and transport costs.
Bernie and Dougie continue now support every year 21 organisations which includes 9 orphanages as well as 4 disability centres, various poor villagers, a hospital and doctors surgeries.
Keeping in touch
To donate: http://www.bulgariaorphanagesillistra.com/