A DARWEN woman has helped give the gift of education to 25 poor children in Cameroon.

Pat Monks made an appeal in September for people to donate teddies after African doctors told her that cuddling a bear can help poorly youngsters get better more quickly.

Some 150 bears were taken to comfort youngsters, but the larger teddies were sold to raise funds for children who could not go to school because their parents could not afford the annual £2.50 fee.

The generosity also meant Pat could give the remote village, where many of the men have died of AIDS, a corn-grinding machine, farm tools such as hoes and machetes and a sewing machine.

When Pat, 54, visited with her team in October, she was one of the first missionaries to the area in nearly 30 years.

Pat had asked for residents to send teddies, and to attach a gift-tag with their address and a message, so the children knew where the gift was from.

After the appeal's success, she is starting a new fundraiser.

While in the village, Pat heard about a different village just 60 miles away which needed water pipes to connect to a main water pipe which is being laid across the country or face a future without a permanent water supply. She is appealing for more teddy bears to help these villagers.

Pat said: "We want to raise some money to take out some pipes to the village. The water pipes are going to be coming through the country and if the village can't afford it, then it will by-pass them.

"We need £1,000 for pipes and £1,000 to pay for farming equipment and a training programme."

Pat has been helping the homeless in Africa since the misery she saw, while on holiday there with her husband, moved her into helping change lives.

Previously she set up a night shelter for homeless children in Goa. To help, call 01254 775358.