A SELFLESS couple who witnessed 'needless suffering of children and adults' whilst volunteering in South Africa have since set up a charity.

Hayley and Samesh Ramjattan, from Glory Farm in Bicester, are the founders of newly-formed charity Therapy Africa which works to provide therapy to terminally ill patients overseas in South Africa.

The pair's heart-breaking experience working in Shallcross Hospice in Durban prompted a desperate desire to do more to help offer help and equipment for hospices in the area.

Mrs Ramjattan, a children’s specialist physiotherapist at the John Radcliffe, said: "Samesh is from South Africa, so we visit on a regular basis to see friends and family there.

"During our most recent visits – 2015 and 2016 - we visited a number of local adult and children hospices that offer respite and end of life care to individual’s who have nowhere else to turn.

"During our visits we would make donations and speak with the volunteers and staff about daily life there.

"What struck me as a physiotherapist in the UK was the desperate need for adequate therapy provision. Most residents have to travel miles to access therapy and equipment, often not fit for purpose. We knew we could make a difference."

The 34-year-old paediatric physiotherapist has worked at the John Radcliffe for 10 years and says in that decade has seen first hand the difference physiotherapy can make to infection prevention, patient recovery and quality of life.

Mrs Ramjattan and her husband Mr Ramjattan, 45, who is an independent author spent two weeks in November volunteering at the hospice, run completely by volunteers, which is home to almost 100 disabled, amputee and HIV patients.

The pair, who have been married for eight years, were able to pull in support from colleagues in the UK who donated unwanted equipment to take to Africa, a trip that takes about 14 hours, including frames, braces and orthotics.

This enabled the pair to set up a small therapy gym at the hospice and kit it out with therapy equipment such as gym balls, therabands and mats.

Mrs Ramjattan said: "What struck me was the desperate need and want for therapy input, that we take for granted in the UK. Most residents have to travel miles to access therapy and equipment, often not fit for purpose.

"There were several low cost solutions that I identified which could make a huge impact on the lives of the residents in the hospice, including a space to exercise or the right size frame and teaching to volunteers on how to support residents in being active and independent."

She added: "We are so blessed in the UK to have such fantastic care available to us. The patients at Shallcross Hospice come from some of the poorest communities in Durban. They are often abandoned, have nowhere else to go and the hospice is the only place where they can receive vital care and support."

The pair have since set up registered charity Therapy Africa to carry on the vital work they started with the patients at Shallcross Hospice.

It is hoped through the charity funds and awareness will be raised to support better provision of therapy to resident in South African hospices.

The couple's work at Shallcross Hospice is hoped to eventually extend more widely to other hospices which desperately need this support also.

Fundraising has already stumped up enough to pay for a part time physiotherapist at the Shallcross Hospice.

Mrs Ramjattan added: "It feels great to have got the ball rolling with the charity.

"It has taken a fair amount of hard work to establish but we are delighted to say that we are now in a position to directly employ a physiotherapist to work part time at the Shallcross hospice, which will make a huge difference to the lives of the residents living there."

Mr Ramjattan added: "With support from a local South African Doctor we want to hire a part-time physiotherapist who can work at the Hospice, help train the staff and provide a holistic approach to patient care.

"From going out and seeing first-hand the challenges the hospice faces I know what a difference Therapy Africa can make.

"I really hope the people of Oxford get behind us to make it a big success."

The charity is currently hosting a Therapy Africa Summer Raffle which is running until June 24. People are invited to buy tickets online and be in with the chance to win Michael McIntyre Big World Tour tickets, Formula 1 memorabilia, ESPA Skin care hamper, signed Trevor Noah Biography and more.

To make a donation head to the charity's website and tickets are a minimum of £5 to be automatically entered into the prize draw.

Therapy Africa is run solely by volunteers and all funds raised go directly to improving the therapy provision to residents at the hospice.

For more details see therapyafrica.com