How it all started
Days before the Boxing Day of 2004 claimed thirty thousand lives in Sri Lanka, 27 Brighton College pupils flew back to Heathrow after a hugely successful cricket tour of the island. Determined to help a nation that had been such a wonderful host, Matthew Hansford and Robert Easton launched the aptly-named charity “Extra Cover”.
Matthew Hansford is the father of one of the cricket tourists and Robert a teacher at Brighton College.
Initially the main thrust of its programme was construction of new homes for victims of the disaster, and in the space of two years, the charity paid for the building of some 39 houses in the south of the country, as well as repairs to several schools near the water’s edge.
In 2007, the charity changed focus and turned its attention exclusively to the field of education. A few miles inland, away from public view, we found schools whose children were in desperate need of life’s essentials – food, water, shelter, medicines, clothing, and basic educational materials. Some children were coming to school with no shoes on their feet and no food in their stomachs. Some of the schools had no clean water supply. Let alone electricity. Let alone toilets. Let alone books, or pens or pencils.