A PADIHAM engineer who flew out to the Philippines to help with the aid relief effort is now collecting emergency supplies to send out to the country.

Christian Helm, 41, took three weeks unpaid leave from his job at Fort Vale Engineering, in Simonstone, to visit the Philippines after Typhoon Haiy- an struck.

He had previously established a connection with the Asian country when he volunteered at orphanages there in 2011.

His visit has inspired him to do more to help, and not only is he returning to the country later this month, but he is also collecting supplies to be shipped out to victims of the typhoon.

His employer has offered to foot the bill for a crate to be sent out to the Philippines, and he is hoping to collect enough to fill a large shipping box, which measures 40 feet.

Christian said: “It’s just awful, there are people who’ve lost all their family, all their livelihoods, houses and businesses.

“Mango farms, coconut farms, chicken farms, McDonald’s buildings, airports just gone, wiped to the floor.

“It’s just heartbreaking. One family lost six children.

“But they don’t seem to let it get them down, they’re very resilient.

“I think it affected me more than it affected them.”

Christian has been appealing for donations on Facebook, and he has also contacted local schools, asking them to encourage children to fill a shoe box with gifts for youngsters in the Philippines.

He is collecting a variety of items, including hand tools such as hammers, saws, nails and tarpaulin, powdered baby milk, baby wipes and nappies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, small toys, crayons, felt tip pens and colouring books, and tinned and packet food items such as noodles, sardines and tuna.

He is also asking for donations of camping equipment.

He said: “Anything that people can have to get back on their feet, to give temporary shelter until they get something more permanent.”

To donate items to Christian’s appeal, email christianhelm1972@gmail.com