PUPILS at a Pensnett school who were told it would cost a staggering £2,000 to send books to poor youngsters in Africa have finally had them shipped after an Oldbury company stepped in to provide a fairytale happy ending.

Students at Pensnett High School started the Books for Africa project in 2008 after their student development officer, Kath Cooper, returned from a 15- day trip to Tanzania.

Kath was part of a small team from Kingswinford Christian Centre which went to Africa in August 2008 and during the missionary trip, visited two schools, Balili-Dar-Es-Sallam and Eure’s Day Care Centre.

However, during the visit, Kath was struck by their lack of books and vowed to do all she could to help.

Once back at the Tiled House Lane school, the children and teachers donated hundreds of books to send to the two schools.

But with more than 60 boxes of text and reading books ready to be sent to the Third World country, Kath was told it would cost over £2,000 to deliver to those particular schools.

An urgent fundraising appeal to cover the postage costs was launched with fundraising auctions and mufti days held, before the school appealed for help from Dudley News readers.

The story was read by Stephanie Harris, an accounts assistant at IPU Group, an industrial engineering company based in Oldbury.

The 32 year old from Amblecote said: “I saw the story and thought that £2,000 was very excessive for something to go to Africa.

“I went into work and spoke to my financial director, who was quite happy for me to use my contacts to see if we could get a lower price for them.

“We got a couple of quotes and went with the one who said they were happy to waive all the extra costs.”

She added: “We are a company which prides itself on being fair and honest so we were glad we could follow our values and help out the school.”

And staff and pupils were delighted to wave off more than 100 boxes of books destined for the two African schools, thanks to help from Chambers and Cook Freight Limited of Birmingham, who agreed to deliver the books for just over £650 – a far cry from the original amount.

Kath said: “It was quite emotional to see them go. I am so happy they are going to the schools we wanted them to go to.

“We had raised about £300 towards the cost and the school donated the rest of the amount, which was brilliant.

“I just can’t believe they have gone. I am so grateful to everybody’s help. It has given me a lot of faith in human nature, that people can respond to something which means nothing to them but everything to somebody else.”