Couple giving up life in Pentney, near Swaffham, for Malawi

Kathie and Les Craske are set to leave their home behind next month and fly to Malawi.

Their love affair with the country began when Mrs Craske travelled to Africa to care for a friend who became ill while working there.

'Before 2005 I had never dreamed of visiting Africa because I don't like snakes and spiders but after travelling out there to see my friend, I fell in love with Africa,' she said.

Since then the Craskes have visited Malawi twice a year for two weeks at a time for more than five years and built up close connections with Samuti Village in the south of the impoverished country.

They have supported projects run by by the Grassroots charity including setting up a nursery for 80 pre-school children and helping pupils in a place where secondary education has to be paid for.

On their last trip, they were invited by friends Gordon and Lucy Hayes to join them in running a children's centre in a town, which they saw as a God-given opportunity not to be missed.

For Mr Craske, this will be the first time he has lived outside Norfolk. Asked what his role might be, he replied: 'I'm open-minded at the moment, mainly looking to support Gordon and Lucy who will be able to have a much needed holiday and ongoing help.

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'We will continue the work in Samuti Village, and hope to set up small Bible study groups.'

The pair, who will be based in Bvumbwe in south Malawi, are excited by the challenges they face as they finalise their plans to move to another continent.

Mrs Craske said: 'We are committed to staying two years initially and I am terribly excited. We need to learn to understand the Malawi culture better, and to learn their language (Chichewa).'

The couple are brimming with ideas for the nursery where they will continue their work in the country where residents have an average life expectancy of 37 years and many children are orphaned.

Among their plans is to monitor the nurtrition and development of the children in order to make sure they are getting adequate nourishment.

Mrs Craske retired from her job as a receptionist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last year, with her 49-year-old husband now preparing to give up work at Hollinger Print in Norwich.

She added: 'Everything is falling into place. We are letting out our house, sold our car and given up a lot of personal stuff which has been very hard.

The couple have said they will miss family, home and their church family in Breckland Christian Fellowship who have been and continue to be supportive.