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Why I will remember this charity

John Herold explains why he is leaving SOS Children a legacy

Having had a long career in the Royal Air Force during which I experienced a great deal of overseas travel, which I most enjoyed, I was determined, when I retired, to continue my travel experiences at a more leisurely pace. At any opportunity I travelled abroad particularly to the East. Unlike my Air Force travels, I was able to experience a different aspect of many parts of the world such as the abject poverty in which my fellow human beings have to exist.

I felt a great personal need to help in any way I could to relieve in some small way a little of the suffering I had seen.

It was at that time that I came across an advertisement for SOS Children's Villages, an organisation which I had never heard of, but which I now have the utmost admiration and respect for.

I offered immediately to sponsor a child and was fortunate enough to become an 'Uncle' to Sunitha, a delightful little Indian girl of 9 years of age, who with her younger brother had recently been orphaned, and rescued by the local SOS Children's Village near Cochin.

At the first opportunity I travelled to India to find out at first hand exactly what and who I was sponsoring. I found to my absolute delight the happiest, well-cared for group of children imaginable and have made annual visits to them ever since. My tenth annual visit took place during January 2006.

That particular group of children, brothers and sisters to Sunitha are now quite grown up and are either working, students in advanced education or awaiting university places. The SOS education system provides continuous and financially supporting education fro all their children. I often wonder what would have become of these young people had they not been fortunate enough to be taken in by SOS, with its dedicated staff. It is heartbreaking to think of the alternatives which could have awaited many of them.

I have also visited SOS Children's Villages in other parts of the world and I have always, without exception, been rewarded by seeing children happy and well cared for.

Sunitha lives in Nazareth House with her brothers and sisters. I have now seen them all grow up and blossom under the loving and dedicated care of their house Mother Elsamma. They have become a wonderful bunch of kids, full of fun, responsible, polite, extraordinary, and happy and with sensitive support for those younger than them. And what's more they love their Uncle!

I am now 84 years of age and realise that I may not be able to undertake these annual visits for more than a few more years. However, I am determined to help the excellent work of SOS Children by remembering them in my will. By doing so, I will be able to help another little Sunitha from a lifetime of loneliness, poverty and hardship after I have gone. This is the least I can do for I have greatly appreciated all the joy those children have given me over the years.

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