A FYLDE coast soldier was so moved by the plight of children in Kenya he and his wife now plan to adopt an orphan.
Colour Sgt Stewart Barlow, of Fleetwood, is currently serving with the Second Batalion the Duke of Lancaster regiment at Weeton Barracks but is on a six month posting to British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk).
The 42-year-old was out on training when his car broke down and he hitched a lift with colleagues from the First Batalion The Rifles heading to donate toys, books, puzzles, teddy bears and clothing, to the 42 orphans at The Isiolo Children’s Centre, near the Somalian border.
And it could change his life forever. He was so moved by the poverty and plight of orphans, he is looking into adopting 18-month-old Mwangi.
He said: “Me and my wife already have three children, but we’ve always wanted four.
“We can’t have any more and have been thinking about fostering or adopting in the UK.
“After visiting it is quite a simple process. I’ve already e-mailed a photograph of him to my children and they have replied saying ‘please bring him home dad’ and I just know they will treat him like their own.”
The orphanage takes in children aged from birth to 16 years because of various reasons.
Their parents may have died or they may have been living on the streets and no next of kin can be found or at the request of a court because they have been subject to illegal arranged marriages or suffered abuse.
After the soldiers donated the gifts – collected by the troops’ families at their home at Beachley Barracks in Gloucestershire – the children performed a song and dance to thanks them for their generosity.
Captain Rachel Webster said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to do this.
“It has taken a long time to organise and has only been achieved with the generosity of the wives.
“We’ve found the perfect orphanage to support and when you see the smiles on the children’s faces it really does make it all worthwhile.”
Centre manager Emiliano Mureithi said it was great to have formed a new link with the Army.
He added: “We very rarely get visitors here.
“You can see that they are very happy and grateful to the British Forces and we hope this new relationship will continue.”