Plumber signs up for Belarus project

A PLUCKY pair of volunteers travel to Belarus this September to build an orphanage for disabled children.

Barabara Messenger, trustee of a charity called Leaves of Hope, arranged the trip some months ago, but was struggling to find the right support before a plumber from Pebsham volunteered his services.

Sean Holman, 44, of Hastings Road, will now join Barbara, of Ninfield Road, for their two-week project to refurbish a flat in Minsk.

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"It was a key thing, Sean agreeing to help us," said Barbara. "This will be quite a breakthrough, getting this home set up. We want it to be much more like family life than a straightforward orphanage.

"The children we know aren't likely to get out into a family, so we'd like to brighten up their lives."

The meeting came about through All Saints Church, Sidley. Both Barbara and Sean's mum attend, and after Minsk cropped up in conversation, Sean knew it was for him.

"It's something I've always wanted to do - a bit of charity work. The children over there are in orphanages until they are seven or eight, and then if they are disabled they put them into an asylum hospital, so this seemed a worthwhile cause.

"I'm really looking forward to getting out there."

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Sean will be kept busy. The 6,000 project sees a complete overhaul of the flat, and he and another volunteer from Aberystwyth will go over all wiring and plumbing, refurbishing the bathroom and kitchen before declaring it safe for children.

Sean and Barbara leave on September 17, driving overland to save cash through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and then into Belarus at Brest.

When finished, the flat will cater for seven disabled youngsters, who will trade an orphanage for foster care. Barbara hopes to lead some of the All Saints congregation back next year, and she has the full support of parish priest, Father Trevor Buxton.

He said: "I think it's a very commendable charity. The parish has been delighted to adopt it.

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"It's wonderful to have something where you know what's going on with it. Barbara keeps us up to date with the latest developments, and we are very glad to be able to support her."

'¢ The group needs sponsorship for the project, particularly by way of meeting the cost of fittings and fixtures - such as sinks or cookers - needed for the refurbishment. Forms can be collected from All Saints Church, All Saints Lane, and more information about the project can be found at

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