Ian’s mission is to help change people’s lives

Ian Thorburn volunteers for Tools with a Mission Picture: Allan Hutchings (120471-154)
Ian Thorburn volunteers for Tools with a Mission Picture: Allan Hutchings (120471-154)
Driftwood Festival organiser Paul Cobb  Picture: Malcolm Wells (142242-6774C)

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Ian Thorburn always knew his calling in life was to help out others in need.

So when he retired five years ago, he didn’t need to think twice about becoming a volunteer for an organisation which gives practical help to poor communities overseas.

The 64-year-old is a collector for Tools With a Mission. The organisation is made up of volunteers from across the country who collect unwanted tools and electrical equipment. These are then shipped to Africa and used in training centres so people can learn a trade.

Ian’s role sees him pick up people’s donations from their homes before storing them in a private garage in North End.

A van then takes the goods to Ipswich before they are cleaned, sorted into boxes and shipped abroad.

‘Over the past two years, 21 containers filled with sewing machines, laptops, craft items, text books and bicycles have been donated

Ian, of Cobden Avenue, Copnor, said: ‘I’ve always felt that I’ve been called to help and serve others.’

Ian has been a secretary at Cosham Baptist Church, in Havant Road, Cosham, for 11 years.

He adds: ‘I’ve been a church member all my life, so getting involved with Tools With a Mission seemed like the natural thing to do.

‘Someone said to me one day, “you don’t want to be sat around doing nothing when you retired,” and I knew that wasn’t going to happen!

‘Volunteering for Tools With a Mission is fantastic because it’s Christianity in action.

‘The purpose of it is to make the people we help independent.

‘We don’t want them to rely on charitable work forever.

‘It’s important that we teach others how to support themselves.

Ian will soon give a public talk about his work.

On February 21 the former NHS project manager will talk about the importance of Tools With a Mission and persuade others to part with their unwanted household items.

The event will start at 7.30pm and The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Cheryl Buggy, and the Mayors and Mayoresses of Gosport, Fareham and Havant will be in attendance.

In recent times Ian has also held talks at Women’s Institute and Mothers’ Union meetings.

He says: ‘Before I worked for the health service I trained to be a carpenter, so it’s great that I’ve been pursuing my love for tools again.

‘I’ve really got into my role. I love the fact that I am helping to change people’s lives.’