A PENDLE village had a royal visit with a difference yesterday when the chief of one of Sierra Leone’s poorest districts came to thank people for their charity work.

Alhaji Mohamed Kailondo-Banya, the honorary paramount chief of the Kailahun district, met representatives from the Kids in Kailahun (KIK) charity, which is based in Barley.

The chief, whose role is described in the African country as that of king of the district, spoke at Roughlee Village Centre about the help the charity had provided in the area.

The charity is run by Lorraine Goldsbrough in her spare time, and she visits the region twice a year, with a dedicated team of volunteers from the area.

Speaking at the reception, Mr Kailando-Banya, who is in Britain for diplomatic reasons, said: “I am very impressed by KIK, it is my duty to support them.

“I must thank everyone in this area who has done just wonderful work in my district, you have all been so kind.”

The charity sponsors 150 youngsters aged between two and 25, and recently helped build a school.

It helps to put them through schooling and professional training with the condition they return to the area to work and train others.

“The sky is our limit as long as we have KIK in Kailahun,” said Mr Kailando-Banya.

“When I came to England I got my assistant to contact the charity so that I could come and say thank you in person and have an audience with everyone that has done so much for my area.”

The group has spent around a month in London attending courses and conferences.

Mrs Goldsbrough said the situation in Kailahun was very different to rural Pendle.

She said: “There is no running water, no electricity or no roads in the area.

“It takes three days to get from the airport to Kailahun and you have to sleep on the roadside on the way.”

The charity recently took a 10-year lease on a property in the district to show its commitment to transforming lives in the area.

The chief was greeted in Roughlee by the mayor of Pendle Coun Tony Beckett, and MP Andrew Stephenson, who was invited to Sierra Leone to see the charity’s work first hand.