Published: 00:00, 09 February 2019
Newlyweds who hired a translator to visit an orphanage during their honeymoon are appealing for donations to help the centre.
Simon and Kerry Banks from Deal travelled to Sri Lanka in South Asia to celebrate their marriage which took place in St George's Church last August.
Within moments of arriving, they were reminded of the devastation the island suffered after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami including how hundreds of children were left without parents.
They felt compelled to help so hired a translator and made plans to visit an all-girl children's home and development centre in the Wadduwa vicinity, taking essentials and toys bought from a supermarket.
Touched by what they witnessed, they returned home to Kent and contacted the trustees to see how they could continue to help.
They've since pledged to send the home regular parcels containing sanitary products and school items, and are hoping the Deal community will support the cause.
Mrs Banks, who is known for her work with Breast Cancer Now and Martha Trust, said: "It was shocking, very run down, like a scene from Annie with dorms of about 15 beds.
"There were flies everywhere. The bedding was threadbare and they had about three old rag dolls.
"But speaking to the girls, they all had such great aspirations. Some of them wanted to be doctors and lawyers.
"We just felt we left a bit of out hearts there."
They learnt that the orphanage which is home to 40 girls and five women only receives £4.60 a month per head to cover all necessities.
Mr Banks added: "We spent a few hours at the home and upon arriving back to England both Kerry and I said we wanted to do more."
The couple have secured a sponsor in Postage Supermarket
Mrs Banks said: "They've agreed to support our project with 20kg of postage enabling us to send out essentials to the girls four times a year.
"We have been in regular contact with the home and are delighted that the first parcel sent in December arrived within the two weeks and we received photos with the girls and the items."
The orphanage would benefit from cleaning products, dried cooking ingredients and first aid items.
Mr Banks said: "We have secured drop off points at The White House in Victoria Road, Jewsons in Southwall Industrial Estate, and the East Kent Mercury in Queen Street, Deal, along with our home in Cowdray Square. We can also arrange collection if needed."
Donations should be handed in by Wednesday, February 28 with the next 20kg parcel shipped in March.
Mrs Banks said: "Myself and Simon would like to say a huge thanks to anyone who gets involved with this project. They don't have fundraisers in their country like we do so we must do it for them."
Find out more about the orphanage at tudawechildrenhome.com
More by this authorEleanor Perkins