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Dancing doctor from Homerton Hospital A&E raises funds for WaterAid teaching salsa

PUBLISHED: 13:57 08 November 2017

Samson dancing in red trousers at the Teesside Festival. Picture: Teesside Festivals UK

Samson dancing in red trousers at the Teesside Festival. Picture: Teesside Festivals UK

Teesside Festivals UK

Emma Bartholomew speaks to dancing doctor Samson Kendall who has raised over £190,000 for WaterAid through his organisation 4Water

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid chief executive, presenting Samson Kendall with his Points of Light award. Picture: WaterAid Tim Wainwright, WaterAid chief executive, presenting Samson Kendall with his Points of Light award. Picture: WaterAid

“I was a bit too brave,” Samson Kendall remembers, thinking back to when he decided to put on dance classes for charity while studying at Glasgow uni, despite barely knowing how to dance himself.

“I was pretty terrible but I wanted to raise money,” said Sam, 29, now an A&E doctor at Homerton Hospital.

“There was me and one teacher who I found randomly at freshers’ week, and we did a class for 100 people. At the end I said I’ll do a demo for you. I realised I was only 30 seconds in and I had used up all my moves. I decided to get good so I could make the classes better.”

Nine years down the line and now and the fundraising organisation, 4Water which Sam set up off the back of the classes has made nearly £200,000 for WaterAid.

Samson with his colleagues at the emergency department in Khayelitsha, South Africa Samson with his colleagues at the emergency department in Khayelitsha, South Africa

The network now has 300 volunteers globally who teach things to raise money, and Sam has just been given a Points of Light award to recognise the change he is making in the community.

“I realised fundraising can be really fun, and I wanted people to have the opportunity to contribute towards making the world a better place while doing things they enjoy, rather than doing things that are really un-fun like shaving off everything,” he said.

“Access to clean water and sanitation should be a basic human right. So much time Is wasted collecting water in some countries, and children are dying of diarrhoea.”

Sam, who specialises in anaesthetics at Homerton, has just returned from practising emergency medicine in a South African township.

Samson dancing “rumba Columbia” in El Palenque, Sabado de la Rumba, Havana, Cuba Samson dancing “rumba Columbia” in El Palenque, Sabado de la Rumba, Havana, Cuba

“People are a lot sicker and waiting times are a lot longer there,” he said.

“When I came back I would hear people complaining about one hour waiting times, but it’s getting used to what’s the norm for a culture.”

Ultimately he wants to work in humanitarian aid for an organisation like Medicins Sans Frontieres.

“I guess I think the world is grossly unequal and I’ll do what I can to make it more equal,” he said.

Sam’s 4Water salsa dance class runs Tuesdays at 6.30pm at King Solomon Academy in Penfold Street off Edgware Road. It costs £6 or £4.50 if buying 10 lessons up front.

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