HAVING recovered from a bone marrow transplant Lochgelly man Ross Stirling is aiming to be raise more funds to help children in the Indian city of Kolkota suffering from HIV.

Ross, and fellow lecturer at Fife College, Fiona McLeod, from Kennoway, travelled to the slums of Kolkata to help improve the lives of children suffering from HIV and AIDS, by taking clothes and funding to build an extension to the local Arunima Hospice.

The funding had been raised through events and activities organised by students at Fife College and from kind donations from students, staff, family, friends and members of the St Finnians Scottish Episcopal Church in the town, along with other groups and individuals.

Cowdenbeath Rotary Club heard on Thursday how during their six day stay Ross and Fiona met 47 children who are affected with HIV, most of whom have heart breaking stories to tell. Many had recently been orphaned after seeing their parents die from the disease or from being abandoned themselves, due to the stigma that surrounds their condition.

The Arunima Hospice provides medical support, for both nutrition and general medical practice and also provides a home for the children and counselling when required.

Ross, Fiona and Leanne Clark, a student at Fife College, told the meeting how they each had visited the Arunima Hospice had seen some very difficult sights but the support from Fifers had seen a lot of progress made.

Among these had been a creation of a girls' dormitory at a cost of £10,000. Previously 26 girls had faced having to sleep three to a bed and Leanne said that it was very sad for her to see the situation, however, the new dormitory saw each girl have their own bed.

Ross and Fiona added that the roof of part of the Hospice needed replacing and Lochgelly's 33rd scouts had raised over £500 to help with that project.

Leanne, who works with the scout group, visited Arunima in April and said: "The poverty that you see is quite striking but the children, despite the problems they have, are really so very friendly and positive".

Ross added: "I have been out of things a bit through my bone marrow transplant but I and hopeful of being able to go back to Arunima in the spring and the next project is the provision of a bus that can transport the children.

"We think it will cost £10,000 to achieve that so we will be planning to get out fundraising plans into action.

"It would be another excellent plus to get the vehicle and give the children a major boost."

Ross, Fiona and Leanne thanked all the organisations and groups who have supported the various fundraising efforts for the project and hope that there will backing for more projects in the future.