Michael leaves Hartlepool home to help needy in the Philippines

A HARTLEPOOL man has swapped his hometown for a life of helping the needy in the Philippines.

Former Army man Michael Stalley now spends his time organising deliveries of clothing, aids for the disabled, and toys for children.

And he does it all with a group of people who don’t fundraise. They merely organise donations of goods from friends and from people in the UK.

It’s a volunteer organisation which makes a real difference and the only thanks they ask for in return is a smile from the people they help.

These photographs show the conditions that the people of the Philippines endure, and the help that Michael’s group - called Billy No Mates, I Walk Alone and Shadow Philippines - gives.

The former Billingham Campus School student, who hails originally from Hartlepool, said: “I am a former military man.

“After leaving the military, I worked in Bosnia, Croatia for seven years then a short year in Kosovo.

“I now live in the Philippines and most of my time is taken up by helping the needy, with help from friends in the Philippines and the UK.”

Michael said all of the help was “in kind”. “No money is involved in our group. Most of the items are sent we donate are sent from the UK by an old army mate of mine who lives in Devon and we get all items shipped for free by a nurse who is from the Philippines and works in London, he added”

In the last year alone, the group has had more than 15,000 items of donated clothing. Michael added: “We have had clothing, walking aids for the disabled,wheelchairs and many toys, books and computers for the children.”

The help is used in an area of the Philippines which stretches from Banaue in the mountain region to Tacloban Leyte which was hit by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

Billy No Mates is a non-political and non-profit group based in Baguio City. It helps people in need and everyone connected to the organisation is unpaid.

Organisers say the only reward they seek is the “smiles from the people we help”.

Those who receive the help include the blind, street people, and the disabled and the group needs donations such as clothing, shoes and snacks.

People can find out more about the organisation at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Luzonbackpackers/