A GROUP of six members of Christchurch, Ilkley, are going to Cambodia on Saturday for a two week volunteer mission.

They will be working with community groups to improve the lives of the most vulnerable families. The work will involve building projects, to help build safe homes and schools so that children can have education and a better future, and clinics to be able to offer some health care.

The voluntary work is arranged with a UK based charity called Mission Direct. They arrange the two week missions, for work in countries where there is great need.

Mission Direct believe that these projects ‘build hope, and bring change’.

Philip Smith at Christchurch, Ilkley, was the first to decide in the summer of 2018 to go to Cambodia for this mission, having previously done a similar mission in Sierra Leone.

Philip said of that project: “We realised then we made a real difference to peoples lives. Apart from the building work, the local people were grateful that we had travelled so far for them.

“Even though we didn’t know them, we wanted to help them. They realised we cared. They said that it usually feels as if no-one cares about them. But they knew we did.”

The Christchurch group have been fundraising to give money to Mission Direct to pay for the skilled labour to support the project and pay for building materials.

There have been sponsored walks, carols for Cambodia, afternoon teas offered, jams made.

The Christchurch team consists of Philip Smith, Lynnda Smith, Lynda Duttine, Dianna Feather, Chris Knamiller, and Bridget Pitcairn.

Bridget Pitcairn said: “We are so very grateful for all the donations of money from Christchurch, and our friends and families.

“All the money, 100 per cent, goes to Mission Direct in Cambodia.

“We are overwhelmed by the aid which has been collected in Christchurch which we will take to Cambodia.

“We’re taking soap, shampoo, toothpaste, children clothes and shoes, crayons, books, games. St James’ Church, Silsden, has also donated the hand-knitted children’s tops.

“Thank you to everyone. Our cases are filled with donations and we will take these to schools, families, orphanages. The Mission Direct statement rings true ‘Together we can build a better future’.”

For more information about the work of Mission Direct visit: https://missiondirect.org/