Two former St Laurence School students from Bradford on Avon will be spending the summer in India gaining skills for the future while helping people with leprosy and disabled orphans.

Alex Tate and Frances Jones, both 19, will be staying in Thoothukudi, South India, for a month and will experience life in a boy’s home, hospital and school.

Alex wants to go on to study medicine and will be shadowing doctors at St Luke’s Leprosy Hospital, while Frances will be helping at the local school.

Alex said: “It will be interesting to see the difference in cultures, because we are not going to a touristy area and it will be interesting to get over the language barrier.

“It will be really good to have Fran with me, as it is nice to have someone to share experiences with.”

Frances said she would be helping with the children at the local school and teaching them English.

She added: “I’m told they like playing games and love bingo.

“I hope we get to see a bit of the country as well because it is apparently a beautiful area.”

The friends, who will stay in guest accommodation at St Luke’s Leprosy Hospital, will also visit the SCHT Boys Home for disabled boys.

Both the hospital and boys home are supported by The Neem Tree Trust, who arranged the girls’ trip, which Alex and Frances are funding themselves.

Kathy Miller, founder of the charity based in Avoncliff, said: “It will be difficult for them because not that many people in this country see people with leprosy.

“There will be plenty of opportunities for them and I am really excited for them.”