A PHOTOGRAPHER is taking a shot at raising nearly £2,000 for charity - and, at the same time, snapping up pictures that should ease the plight of poverty-stricken families on an Asian island.

Pete Lopeman, who retired in July after 12 years as an art teacher at North Bromsgrove High School, is currently developing his new career as a photographer.

And he has decided to take on the challenge of travelling to Borneo in January for 13 weeks, during which time he will photograph projects run by Raleigh International, a charitable youth organisation which sends young people to help the rural communities to create sustainable and safe water sources for poor families.

Mr Lopeman, aged 54, from Cradley Heath, is paying the £850 costs of his journey, including jabs against malaria and Japanese encephalitis - but also has to pledge to raise £1,950 towards Raleigh International's Borneo projects.

He has already raised just over £1,000 through efforts such as a quiz, and by offering £35 photo shoots, which include an hour of his time taking pictures of people and pets and then providing the customer with a disc of the images.

"I now have more time after retiring from teaching and am indulging my passion for photography, which I am developing as a profession," said Mr Lopeman, a father-of-two, who lives with his wife, Ann, a teacher.

"I am trying to build up a portfolio and saw an advert by Raleigh International, who wanted a photographer to record the progress of its work in Borneo.

"They will use my shots on blogs over in Borneo and I will wire them back to London for marketing purposes.

"It's not a holiday or a jolly - it's work but as an unpaid volunteer who is paying their own way."

He is planning a series of three basic photography classes in the community room at Tesco's in Cradley Heath on November 21 and 28 and December 12, from noon to 2pm as part of his fund-raising effort.

Those attending will be charged £5 a head and must bring their own camera and instruction booklet.

"We, in the richer west, take the supply of clean, safe water for granted and I think we do a lot more to help poor communities help themselves," he said.

"The money I am raising for Raleigh does not go to me or my expenses - I have to pay for my flight, my camera equipment and medical expenses myself.

"Every penny of monies raised goes to Raleigh and their work helping save lives through safe water."

Anyone interested in helping him in his fundraising drive for Raleigh International can contact Mr Lopeman on 07907787374 or by emailing peterl3144@aol.com.

Examples of his work can be found on his Peter Lopeman Facebook site.