A BUDDING firefighter is appealing for donations to help rebuild an orphanage in Ghana badly damaged by fire.

Tom Owens, 22, from Handbridge, is on a four month trip to the African country organised by BUNAC who offer affordable volunteering opportunities to students.

The former Queens Park High School student is currently working at the Save Our Lives Orphanage in Anwiankwanta where the bedroom for the toddlers and babies was destroyed by fire.

Tom, whose dream is to become a firefighter, said: “Thankfully no-one was seriously injured which is not due to luck but thanks to the bravery of the older orphans who risked their own lives to protect the lives of others.”

The orphanage is home to 140 children ranging from the newly born to young adults. It primarily looks after children who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or whose mothers died in childbirth.

Tom added: “My role at the orphanage is defined as a carer but due to the huge fire I have decided it would be more beneficial to try and raise funds to rebuild part of the orphanage that was home to the toddlers and babies.”

Tom has been contacting local businesses, radio stations and TV companies. And he is heading to the capital Accra within the next few weeks to speak with numerous embassies to try and get additional donations.

Tom added: “So far my experiences of Ghana have been mostly positive. Although there is often poverty it is not hard to see why the Ghanaian people regard themselves as the friendliest people in Africa. Nearly everyone is willing to help and are usually happy.”

Anyone wishing to place a donation can email Tom at tomowens89@hotmail.co.uk or the orphanage administrator at ikecooke@yahoo.com.