Feb 13 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
AFTER first visiting Africa in 2007 David Ritchie, from Burscough, has returned every year since.
The 71-year-old first went to Africa with the trade union Unite to investigate low rates of pay. He is now a member of ACTSA, (Action for Southern Africa) which works to eradicate poverty.
David uses his own savings to send donations of clothing, sports equipment and other items to Africa every year.
Struck by the poverty and illness, David is planning to create his own charity to help people.
He said: "I just thought I have to do something. HIV is rife but unspoken. People are ‘not well' but that is all that's said about it.
‘‘It has snowballed. I tell everyone about my plan to set up the charity and am now getting donations left on the doorstep. I don't know who they're off but I know they will be received gratefully.’’
Last year David took over boxing gloves, punching bags, boxing shorts and gumshields after being asked to by a friend who runs Besao Boxing Club in Malawi.
The club targets orphans and aims to get kids off the street in Africa.
Before David’s donations they had one pair of torn boxing gloves, no shoes for the boxers and no punching bag.
David has also helped to make bricks to build a new orphanage in Malawi. He said: "The building was in a state of near disrepair, the children wore rags and baby clothes were particularly sought after."
A widower for 12 years and semi-retired, David said: "I'm so glad that I went. You never know what's around the next corner. It's become my second home. Before I retired I would never have thought I'd be doing this now. Life doesn't slow down.’’