FORMER Blackburn mayor Salim Mulla is devoting his life to charity work in Sierra Leone after handing over his mayoral chains to his successor.

The councillor was inspired to help after visiting the African country which is the 24th poorest country in the world.

Working with local businessman Mohammed Patel, Coun Mulla has set up the Aid4Ummah, charity in Sierra Leone, and is in the process of registering it in the UK.

With help from the town’s Al-Imdaad Foundation, a total of 3,000kg of rice has already been distributed in the country, and the charity also has plans to fund healthcare, education, and housing.

Coun Mulla, who raised thousands of pounds for the renal unit at Royal Blackburn Hospital during his time as mayor, said he would be visiting Sierra Leone three or four times a year and will be working on the charity during his free time. He said: “I just accidentally ended up there after being asked to visit by a friend, and I saw some very disturbing things.

“I’ve started working full-time on Sierra Leone after what I’d seen there, “The country has no infrastructure, the people don’t have enough to eat. Many of them don’t have books, they don’t even have a pen.

"We distributed 3,000kg of rice, but it wasn’t even enough for half the people who needed it, so we have sent some more money. We don’t know how lucky we are here, we don’t know how lucky our children are here. We’re very fortunate.

“We all have a responsibility to support these people, and the community has already responded magnificently.”