A SURVIVOR of the Japanese earthquake is hoping to take part in a mission to help people in the area devastated by the tsunami.

Tom Wadsworth, 27, from Huby, north of York, who is living in Japan with his wife, Sarah, 26, has told how the six-storey building he was working in swayed when the quake struck last Friday.

“I was in a board room,” said the former Easingwold School pupil, who works for a Japanese company making batteries and lives at Gunma Ken, about 300 kilometres from the worst-hit area. “Growing up in Huby, I am not used to earthquakes; however, they are normal in Japan.

“At first, it seemed like a ‘normal’ earthquake – a little tremor and then everybody carries on with work. However, this one carried on for well over a minute and then got stronger. Our building started to visibly sway.

“The Japanese are well trained on earthquakes and so I followed them.

“We first went next to the elevator shaft, the strongest part of the building. However, the siren sounded and then we all evacuated. Only when I saw 600 people trying to evacuate down the stairs did I feel that this was for real.”

He said the aftershocks had been really bad, making it impossible for them to sleep and had also felt sea sick, and their families and friends had been worried.

He revealed a team from their church in Japan, Assemblies Of God, International Family Church, in Takasaki was aiming to visit the disaster area this week, depending on what happened at the nuclear power stations.

“We want to provide donations, blankets food, medical supplies and hope,” he said. “Hope is so important for these people, who have lost families friends, and livelihoods. If we can visit an area, and show people, tell people that there are people thinking of them, praying for them then we hope it will give them hope.”

He appealed for people to make donations to his church back home, Full Life Church, in Preston, which is raising money to send on to his church in Japan.

Donations can be made at HSBC to Full Life Church, Ref: Japan Appeal, Sort Code: 40-26-19, Bank Account: 31450670, or cheques payable to Full Life Church (Japan Earthquake Appeal can be sent to FLC C/O The Cottage Rear Of 304 Liverpool Road, Walmer Bridge, Preston, Lancs PR4 5GD.

• York Yoga teacher Anna Semlyen is helping the British Red Cross in its efforts to assist Japanese earthquake victims through sales of her relaxation CD. She says people can send a £5 cheque, payable to the British Red Cross, plus £1 post and packing, to Anna Semlyen, Yoga in York, 24 Grange St, York Y010 4BH, with their name and address. For details, phone 01904 654355 or email anna@yogainyork.co.uk

Japanese students thank York

Japanese students at the University of York are planning to organise fundraising events to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

Momoko Ueda, of the university’s Japanese Society, said they had been overwhelmed by the support and concern shown to them by members of the York community.

Momoko said: “Thankfully, most of our families and friends are safe and accounted for, but we are all still just as shocked and in despair from everything that has happened.

“The Japanese students here at York are all very concerned and feel hopeless that we are so far away from it all.

“We are planning fundraising events and activities but we are yet to come up with a final plan. We are planning to open up the appeal to the rest of the York community from which I am sure we will get a lot of support.”

“For now, we would just like to thank the many people who have shown us a great amount of compassion.”