HOLMES Chapel MP Fiona Bruce has just returned from her annual aid mission to Africa, this year to Burundi, the eight poorest country in the world.

Mrs Bruce formed a strong relationship with the country five years ago when she devised a business training project there.

On her most recent trip, Mrs Bruce helped expand the project to include two new elements, English teaching for the hospitality industry and football coaching.

Mrs Bruce said: “When we first went to Burundi, meeting with Government Ministers there identified the need to help improve English spoken in the tourism, hotel and hospitality industry in Burundi.

“It is a beautiful country, yet little visited by tourists, and improving English as spoken by those working in this area will help build tourism and, through that, much needed inward investment into the fragile economy of this desperately poor country.

“So we embarked on a new course this year teaching young people working in the hospitality sector to improve their English to enable them to meet, greet and welcome visitors.

“Needless to say, I did not undertake the football coaching personally – but did arrange for an FA coach, Andy Harris, to travel over voluntarily during our week to give football training to hundreds of school children including some from the orphanage which our aid mission supports.

“Whilst the business training and English teaching are extremely popular, the FA coach was positively mobbed – so much so that 60 youngsters were waiting for him eager to start training even as he stepped off the plane. He started training within minutes of arriving in Burundi.”

Mrs Bruce, along with accountant Adrian Veale, also led a week long Business Development course for Burundi business men and women at the Bjumbara Chamber of Commerce, which, following last year’s visit, is now partnered with East Cheshire Chamber.