A RETIRED Great Sankey High School teacher has swapped the town for Tanzania in a bid to support orphans and youngsters from poor families in Africa.

Bob Phillips, of Cartier Close, was inspired to help an educational project in the region after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2006 and visiting a school before flying home.

Since then he has been teaching maths in a small village near Marangu for nearly four years as well as supporting a jewellery-making initiative which is employing vulnerable girls in the area.

The dad-of-two, who became an education advisor after leaving the school in 1991, said: “It’s a different way of life and feels like you’re going back in time 50 years.

“People care for each other in the village and as I’m the only white man, or ‘mzungu’, everybody knows me.

“If I’m ill people will leave food outside my house and once someone left me a live chicken.”

The former PE and maths teacher began by working with teachers in the area in 2008 before the village asked him to go back and teach in a secondary school.

He is hoping to find contractors for the jewellery while he is at home over Christmas to raise more money for the school.

Bob added: “The children are very enthusiastic for education and I wouldn’t want to teach children in England now.

“I started with classes of more than 125 children initially but their behaviour was so good it was not a problem.

“I’m retired and it seemed like a great opportunity to give something back.

“We send donors pictures of the children and hope they will support them all the way through school as primary school can cost £7 a year.”