EVESHAM is set to become a key centre in the country for the collection of vital school equipment for victims of the tsunami.

Samaritan's Purse, the charity behind the annual shoebox Christmas appeal, is using Evesham as a base from which to help children in the devastated Banda Aceh region of Indonesia.

Bob James, co-ordinator for the charity in the Vale, has been put on alert to receive donations ready to be shipped to the Far East in just a few weeks.

Evesham will be just one of five centres throughout the United Kingdom for the collection of desks, chairs, school bags, pens, pencils, books and other educational materials.

"In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami the need was for money for lifesaving food and shelter for the survivors," said Bob, aged 62.

"But things have moved on and our people on the ground in Indonesia are working to try and get the schools up and running again.

"These's a desperate need for good quality school equipment so young people can get back into education.

"Our challenge is to find enough material to fill five shipping containers due to sail for Indonesia in the second week of March."

The charity has activated its team of volunteers and supporters from all over the Vale and has launched appeals to schools in the area to help.

Samaritan's Purse is setting up other collection centres in Wales, Scotland, London and on the South Coast with Evesham set to be the focal point for the charity in the Midlands.

Bob can be contacted on 01386 881605.