A FORMER Tyne Valley teacher has travelled to one of the poorest countries in central Africa.

Tim Burdon, now a regional co-ordinator at Christian Aid, is travelling to Burundi to see how money raised across the North-East helps transform people’s lives.

The 39-year-old Melkridge resident, who taught philosophy and regilious education at Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School, set out last Wednesday to see how the charity’s projects are helping people move out of poverty.

Christian Aid projects include horticulture, coffee growing, and beekeeping.

Tim said: “I have long been impressed with Christian Aid’s vision of a world free from poverty and injustice, and their commitment to tackling the major issues of our day such as climate change.

“The generosity of people in the North-East is truly humbling, and it will be a privilege to see first-hand the impact of the fund-raising that goes on each year.”

Accompanying Tim will be 84-year-old Harry Owens, the president of the Isle of Man’s Beekeepers Federation and the island’s bee inspector.

Harry will be training more than 300 women and groups of young people how to safely and efficiently manage bees, and how to make hives and protective clothing locally.

Tim added: “Harry is a remarkable person, and I am very glad to be able to accompany him on this visit.

“I will also be gathering stories and photos to bring back and share with supporters across the North-East which I hope will inspire them to continue the remarkable and committed work they do.”

Burundi has one of the highest rates of poverty in the world – women in particular face difficulties to create a sustainable livelihood.

The honey will add nutrition to diets, while any extra can be sold.

Tim will be talking about his experience at the Christian Aid North-East Regional Conference in Durham on March 16, as well as during this year’s Christian Aid Week in May.