Harrods heiress helps Hackney police cadets

Camilla Al Fayed is the daughter of the ex-owner of Harrods in Knightsbridge pic: Peter Sigrist

The daughter of former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed has donated money to a local police project sending bikes to Gambia.

A group of 12 Metropolitan Police cadets attached to Hackney police, who have been working 0n the Bike 2 Gambia project, will travel to the African country next year as a result of the substantial donation from the charitable foundation run by Camilla Al Fayed and her father Mohammed Al Fayed.  The project involves repairing unclaimed and scrap bicycles seized by the police which are then sent to children in Gambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Many of the children live in orphanages, and are forced to walk 20 miles to get to school.

The group have done a variety of things to raise money for the trip, including 14 mile runs and jumble sales, but they were still in need of some financial help, which has now been provided by the Al Fayed Charitable Foundation.

So far, the cadets have laboured to get over 160 bicycles fixed up and redistributed to children desperately in need. However, they felt that sending the bikes over to the impoverished children was not enough.

With this in mind, the cadets, aged between 14 and 19, decided to send 12 of their group to Gambia to teach the children how to look after the bikes. The visiting cadets also hope to build a bike shelter.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony at Scotland Yard, Camilla Al Fayed said: “The foundation is pleased to be part of this wonderful cause. Not only do the cadets see first-hand the rewarding results of their hard work, but they will receive immense personal satisfaction knowing the skills they have acquired will greatly benefit the children in The Gambia.”

Hackney volunteer police cadet manager, Jill DiMartino, said: “Camilla’s generous offer to match the funds raised by Hackney cadets will make all the difference. This now brings our goal of going to the Gambia a more realistic prospect.”

Mohammed Al Fayed sold London department store, Harrrods, to the Qatari royal family’s investment company in 2010, for a reported £1.5billion.

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