AN EASTERN European university, once deprived of even the most basic teaching material, has sent a heart-warming letter of thanks to the people of Halton after they donated more than 1,000 books to its English students.

Halton Council's attention to the plight of the students in Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic was raised during a civic visit to the borough's twinning partner when it was discovered that students were having to share one book between four.

An appeal was launched in the borough and the donated books were taken to Usti University.

In a letter to the council's chief executive, Mike Cuff, the head of the university's English department, Irmgard Kolinska, said: "It is difficult to explain how we felt deprived of access to English books and authentic teaching materials and how important your contribution is for our future development.

"In the past, English books were almost inaccessible to us and it will take some time and effort to develop the departmental library so that students can learn to read and appreciate English literature in the original.

"Towards this goal you have made an important contribution and I would like to assure you of our gratitude."

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