Ledbury's Tanzanian exchange visitors have written to the town to express their delight at the kindness show to them.

The visit by Ernest Kasoyaga and Elizabeth Milanzi, now back home in Mtwara, was seen as an important step in furthering links between Anglican parishes in the two countries.

The Rev John Lowe and his wife Valerie visited Mtwara last August on behalf of Ledbury Deanery, with Mr Kasoyaga and Mrs Milanzi spending two weeks in the town on a return visit last month.

Mr Kasoyaga said: "Our programme in Ledbury enabled us to visit many places, schools, homes, churches.

"We have seen many interesting, educative and exemplary things, such as flower gardening, adaptable primary school teaching methods and involvement in charity activities.

"We are friends who have similar problems but at different levels. Therefore, we hope that this visit of ours will build concrete future plans for strengthening our link. We feel pity over the foot and mouth livestock disease and pray it will be over soon."

The pair thanked Ledbury people for the chance to visit England, a first-time visit for either of them.

They wrote: "We would also like to offer thanks for the warm and welcoming reception, care and wonderful presents we have been given."

The pair's travel costs were met by a highly successful series of Lent Lunches, held at various addresses throughout the town, which raised £800.

In addition, £1,100 has been sent to Mtwara, thanks to the kindness of individuals and church communities.

During their own ground-breaking visit to Tanzania, Mr and Mrs Lowe learnt that worshippers in Mtwara were set on building a new place of worship at Likonde, one of the poorest corners of the far-scattered East African parish.

The money from Ledbury means that work on the new church can at last begin, representing around a third of the total construction cost.

Links between the two communities only look set to strengthen in the months ahead.

Mr Lowe said: "We hope that next year there will be people from Ledbury Deanery going to Mtwara for a further visit."