MOST teenagers off school this summer will only get as far as the hotel pool during their annual holiday with mum and dad.

But that was not the case for six York school pupils, who took it upon themselves to help disabled children in Bacau, Romania, as volunteers for the Cry in the Dark charity.

Greg Causer, 15, of Holgate, spent a week of his break 1,600 miles away from home supporting children with AIDS and their families.

The Millthorpe School pupil travelled to the country with five friends after they organised the trip amongst themselves and raised £750 each to fund the expedition.

Many of the children they helped were HIV Positive, and Greg is planning to raise £2,000 and return to Romania for two months next year.

He said: "It was brilliant and emotional, but an eye opener and made me appreciate what I've got.

"It was nice to see them happy, and that made me feel better.

"We did day visits where we would go and help families with a disabled child, take them toiletries or games, and make them homes a better place to live in."

Mum Mandy Potter, who helped Greg raise the money by organising garden parties or helping neighbours with odd jobs, said: "Three of them had already been out there last year as part of Manor Academy's leadership programme.

"They had an amazing time but felt they wanted to finish what they started, so they organised this themselves."

"Greg went out there a really great kid but has come back very caring and compassionate."

Sixteen-year-old Rosie Palmer took part in the trip for the second year in a row, and says she plans to return for a third time.

She said: "Volunteering is really important for the charity because they need people to go out there and do tasks for them.

"You get to know what other people's lives are like and get to experience something different, and think a lot more about what you take for granted.

"It's nice seeing the people out there so happy despite the fact they haven't got very much."