SECONDARY pupils have set off on an annual mercy mission to Malawi.
Dedicated S5 and S6 teenagers from Glasgow's Holyrood Secondary were waved off by Lord Provost Sadie Docherty as they left to carry out charity work in Africa.
And j ust before they jetted out, the pupils took delivery of 2000 mugs from Glasgow Taxis which are to be sent to the impoverished country.
This year's Holyrood pupils' annual trip sees the largest contingent yet of young people departing for the African state – just as the first group of Malawi Leaders of Learning (MLOL) teachers left for their five-week visit to the country.
The Holyrood group includes 37 young people and eight staff, including head teacher Tom McDonald, who will visit for the last time after retiring at the end of term.
Pupils plan to build a three-classroom block at Matindi and Zingwanga Primary Schools and refurbish 10 classrooms at the Catholic Institute Primary to build on work they have carried out in previous years.
Deputy head Gillian Mimnagh said: "The school's annual trip to Malawi is always a conflict of emotions for the youngsters and the teachers – humbling and uplifting at the same time.
"To be able to take out the mugs for the pupils is fantastic and we are so grateful to Glasgow Taxis."
Committee members from the taxi firm earlier delivered 30 boxes filled with the mugs to the Govanhill school, as a gift to its Malawi fund. They will be delivered to Africa by courier next week.
The donation came after a suggestion from one of the firm's drivers, David Hodgson.
Stephen Flynn, vice chairman of Glasgow Taxis Ltd, said: "David's daughter is a former pupil at Holyrood and she told him about the school's trip and the support it provides.
"David came to the committee and asked if we could help.
"The work carried out by Holyrood Secondary's pupils each year is fantastic."
Glasgow City Council's director of education Maureen McKenna waved off MLOL – teachers and active sports co- ordinators, who will work with their African counterparts to boost teaching standards.
The group of 10 are the first to visit as part of the education scheme set up as a partnership between Malawi's education authority and the city council.
Both trips come as Glasgow Restaurant Association announced it raised £4075 during Malawi May for MLOL, while Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery raised £1500 for the scheme.