WHEN Andrew and Jane Longley moved to Leon in Nicaragua, they had no idea it was, in fact, Ox-ford’s sister city.

Now – six years on – they are appealing for help on behalf of their adopted home, which they say is Oxford’s forgotten friend because it is so far away.

Before they had children, Mr and Mrs Longley traded life in Greater Leys for Nicaragua, to set up a charity.

Since then, they and their daughters Anna, four, and Emily, two, have divided their time between working for the charity and their home in Greater Leys, Oxford.

The couple started up Nuevas Esperanzas – which means New Hope in Spanish – to show communities how to farm and secure water supplies and sanitation so they become more self-sufficient. They have been offering help to families who live on the hillsides of Nicaragua’s active volcanoes.

Mr Longley said: “When Jane and I moved to Nicaragua from Oxford, it was just a coincidence that we found ourselves in its twin town.

“There are some similarities – Leon is beautiful in many of the same ways that Oxford is beautiful, and it is also a university town. There are lots of people cycling around the place and it has a population of roughly the same size.

“But there are also many differences – it is, after all, in a Latin American country. The poverty is evident.”

Mr and Mrs Longley are ap-pealing for volunteers to help with their projects in Nicaragua and would like people in Oxford to get in touch.

Mrs Longley added: “We do have to work very hard to get people interested in Leon as a sister city.

“People don’t seem to be as aware of it, probably because it’s further away than other cities Oxford is affiliated to.

“As an organisation, we would love it if people from Oxford were to go to Leon. It’s a beautiful city.”

For more information about Nuevas Esperanzas, see nuevasesperanzas.org, and if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, send an email to the Longleys at info@nuevasesperanzas.org