Ryedale Live! founder Rob Davies has played his part in The Pearl Of Africa Children’s Choir spending a week in York as part of its British tour to raise funds to provide thousands of orphaned and destitute children with food, shelter and an education in Uganda.

Ryedale School had heard that they were planning a tour and the school knew I was involved in promoting music shows in the Ryedale area, so I got a phonecall out of the blue asking if I’d like to help them fix up to do workshops at North Yorkshire schools as part of an eight-week tour.”

After visiting St Augustine’s, Scarborough, on Monday and Ryedale School, Nawton, on Tuesday, the choir members are spending Wednesday to Sunday in York, running singing, drumming and dancing workshops at Hob Moor Oaks, Steiner and The Mount schools, culminating in evening performances for parents each day. Yesterday morning the children had a guided tour of York Minster followed by a short performance, and this evening the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will attend the choir’s concert at The Mount School. “That took a bit of doing, but we’ve managed to arrange it, and being from Uganda they were really keen to meet their fellow African,” says Rob.

Look out for the choir busking in the Coppergate Centre between 11am and 4pm tomorrow and in Parliament Square on Sunday between noon and 5pm.

The highlight of their stay will be tomorrow’s 7.30pm concert at the Grand Opera House. “At the eleventh hour, I heard the Opera House had had a cancellation, so I bit the bullet and contacted the general manager, who said ‘Yes’ to the choir performing there,” says Rob.

“They’ll be supported by the York City Gospel Choir and Millegro, and it’s designed to be a celebration of singing, so we hope that all three choirs will do a big finale number.”

The choir’s singers, dancers and drummers are some of the 1.5million children in Uganda orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDs, disease and war. They are being cared for in schools funded by the Molly and Paul Foundation, a Christian charity established in 1983 by Molly and Paul Wasswa to identify and help orphaned and destitute young people in the country.

The Pearl of Africa Choir tour is the main fundraising method used to ensure the foundation can continue to give thousands of children the chance of a brighter future. It provides a free or subsidised education to more than 2,200 children in seven schools in the Kampala and Masaka districts, and there is also a Children’s Village in the Ugandan village of Kamazinda, which includes a farm school and clinic that provides primary healthcare for the local community.

Co-founder Paul Wasswa says: “The children at these schools have a real hunger and passion to learn. They see a good education as a passport to a better life, and we want to be able to continue to provide them with this opportunity.”

The children are given shelter, food, and healthcare. The charity also pays teachers’ salaries and for the upkeep of the buildings. It costs more than £325,000 each year to keep the schools running. Funds are also needed to buy vital equipment such as mosquito nets, with malaria being the main cause of mortality in Uganda.

In recent years the choir has toured the UK, USA and Ireland. The previous UK tour in 2008 raised £83,000, which covered vital day-to-day running costs of the schools.

The children also taught EastEnders and Carry On star Barbara Windsor some of their dance moves on The Paul O’Grady Show on Channel 4.

Tickets for tomorrow’s concert cost £16, children £10, on 0844 847 2322; all proceeds will be donated directly to the Molly & Paul Foundation.

“It costs just £15 a month to care for one child at a school,” says Molly. “We really hope that people will come out and show their support for the charity by coming along to see the fantastic show the choir will be putting on at the Grand Opera House.”