THE contributions people from the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area have made to an orphanage in India has been specially marked by the children and people who run the Arumina Hospice in Calcutta.

Lochgelly’s Ross Stirling and his friends have been involved in helping the children of the hospice, which cares for children with HIV, for four years.

In that time the member of St Finnian’s Church in the town, has been able to see the facilities at Arumina greatly improve and the children have become very aware of the support they get from this area.

Ross was the guest speaker at Cowdenbeath Rotary Club on Thursday and was recalling what happened when he visited Calcutta in November.

Ross has continued his fundraising work for the hospice despite suffering a serious illness over the last two years which saw him undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Ross said: “Arumina is the only hospice in West Bengal which takes children with aids and they have had around the high 40s in children for most of the time I have been involved in this project.

“The work that my fellow volunteers have done in that time have made a real difference to the facilities and it is continuing.”

Ross added that such was the gratitude that all at Arumina had for the assistance of everyone who has contributed to £23,000 being spent there, a plaque has been put on the wall of the hospice which carries the words: ‘Thank you to the people of Fife’.

One of the projects that has been tackled is the construction of new dormitories with proper toilet facilities in each of them.

He added: “It was something that was needed because we had a situation where there were two children at least to a bed which was simply not good enough at all.

“Our sponsors have been very generous and the result is something which is really benefitting the children.”

The next project Ross and his volunteers are helping fundraise for is purchasing land for a new site in West Bengal which will see a facility created where young people who have gone beyond 18 can feel at home and work in.

Said Ross: “When the youngsters are too old for the hospice they find it very hard because of the HIV situation, after having the support of Arumina for a key part of their life.

“We hope that we will be able to see this develop into a place which can produce young adults who can make a big contribution to their community as time goes by.”

Ross praised the many people who have contributed to the project, including the Rotary Club, and he hopes that he will be able to go back later this year and see how the new plans are developing and be able to bring back good news.