TERMINALLY ill children and adults living in Bengal, India are to be benefit from new hospice facilities thanks to the generosity of two Fife College lecturers and their students.

Lecturers Ross Stirling and Fiona McLeod, who both teach in the Hospitality, Tourism and Retail team, will travel to Bengal to bring funds, clothing and their support to the Arunima Hospice which is situated in the town of Kolkata. Ross learned of the hospice through his membership of Lochgelly's St Finnian's Church.

And a special fundraiser is being held in Torleys in early March.

This is the second year that the lecturers have been involved in raising funds for the hospice – last year Ross raised £920 through a series of small fundraising events. This year Ross has set a new challenge of raising £4,000 which will be used to build a girls’ dormitory.

When Ross asked colleague Fiona McLeod to help with this year’s efforts she was delighted to assist and has already packed suitcases full of clothes and gifts for the children which she has received from generous students and staff at the College.

Fundraising is going well too with a series of events planned for March which the two are hoping will bring in the majority of the funds required to reach their target.

Ross first heard about the plight of the Arunima Hospice through St Finnian’s Scottish Episcopal Church which he attends regularly in Lochgelly.

Said Ross: “In 2015 eight representatives from the Diocese visited Kolkata for their 200th anniversary celebrations – I followed the group on Facebook and it had an emotional effect on me. I asked the group when they returned how I could help and they suggested that the Arunima Hospice was in most need of assistance.

“The facility is dedicated to taking care of people, especially children, who are affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. Life is particularly hard for the children as they are not accepted by general society or welcomed in mainstream education.”

Students at Fife College have also welcomed the opportunity to help their lecturers raise the fund required while working as a team to put the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to real use by organising a range of events.

These include a Race Night and Karaoke in Torley’s Bar, Lochgelly on Saturday March 4 and a Race Night and Disco in The Victoria Hotel, Kirkcaldy on Saturday March 11. The students have also created charity wrist bands which are on sale in College and individual donations are also welcome.

Events student Kayleigh Malcolm (18) from Cupar, said: “It’s great that our lecturers Ross and Fiona are working on this project as it has meant we can get stuck in to helping plan some great events which help us with our studies and course objectives and help raise some funds for a very worthwhile charity at the same time.”

Ross is overwhelmed by the support they have received from the students and staff at the College and said: “ Fiona and I are fundraising individually towards clothes and educational items for the children – the support we have received from the students, staff and church communities has been amazing!”

During their stay in Bengal at the end of March, Ross and Fiona will visit the hospice every day to work with the children and volunteers, as well an attending an inauguration service for the new build project. Continued Ross: “We hope to learn much more about the hardship and prejudice faced by the children and look at what further work we can do in the future to support this great cause. I see this as an exciting opportunity for our students to create a lasting bond between ourselves and the children of the hospice – by working together we can make a difference!”

To purchase tickets for Race Nights, to donate to the cause or find out further information email Ross Stirling rossstirling@fife.ac.uk or call 07947321687.