by Julie Small

SINDLESHAM'S own star of the silver screen has just returned from two weeks in the slums of Kenya.

Nicholas Hoult, best-known as Tony in cult teen drama Skins and for his film roles including as Marcus in About A Boy opposite Hugh Grant, wanted to see the work that development charity Christian Aid is doing in the country.

Hoult, who lives in Sindlesham with his family and went to primary school in Arborfield, spoke to the Chronicle on his return from Kenya.

He said: "The people are just great, really brilliant. The children of the Kariabangi Primary school particularly impressed me, they have spent two weeks rehearsing a play about the importance of water.

"Filming gets too serious, these children reminded me that I should just enjoy it."

It was the rainy season when he was out there, but he still managed to get sun-burnt in the baking heat of Matopeni, home to 2,000 people in 300 houses with no clean water. From there he went to Kiambiu, where he met Catherine Kithuku and her family of nine who share one tiny room.

She has lived in the slum her whole life and said: "There is no water and when it comes, it is dirty. And children are the ones who are most affected. Most of all, I pray for clean water. Without it, we get sick."

The only similarity Hoult could draw between Kenya and life at home was that the sanitation at Reading Festival reminding him of the cubicles in the slums.

He said: "There's nothing wrong with Reading that I can see, Reading is a lovely place to live, you know I love being here, it's home. But the smell of those cubicles was like being at a festival, but with no music and no-one had paid loads of money to be there."

His mum Glenis, a piano teacher, used to hand out Christian Aid's red envelopes for donations and Nicholas has been also helping out for years.

He said the trip was "inspirational" and that he was struck by the "hope" in the hearts of the schoolchildren.

He said: "It's difficult to describe some of the conditions I saw in Kenya, as for most of us back home they would be unbearable. But visiting the Christian Aid project showed me that simple facilities like toilets and showers and clean drinking water can make such a difference to people's every day lives."

- Christian Aid Week runs until Saturday, May 15. Visit