A GREENOCK nurse is ready for her seventh mercy mission to Ethopia to help cure blindness.

Sister Diane Harrison is part of an Inverclyde team heading out to the African country to perform operations that make all the difference in the world.

During their short stay the team will carry out hundreds of cataract surgery procedures.

Locals walk for days to make it to the clinics in time to have their sight restored.

Theatre nurse Diane is part of the Fighting Blindness in Ethopia charity, set up by retired Inverclyde Royal nurse Ergate Ayana.

Diane, who has worked as a nurse since she was 17, said: "It is such a humbling experience out there, when you see people's reactions.

"It is amazing to give people their sight back.

"We take routine operations like this for granted here.

"People walk for days on end to get there.

"On one occasion we nearly missed our flight home because someone turned up as we were packing up to go home.

"But he had walked for three days - you can't go away and leave him.

"We also train the nurses there as well."

On their next visit in February they are heading for Socata area.

Diane has been busy collecting baby clothes and donations to take out to the clinics for local women and was at the Black Angels Beauty Salon in West Blackhall Street, Greenock this week to collect more contributions.

The 50-year-old said: "I have had such a great response.

"I will fill my cases with the donations and equipment."

Retired nurse Ergate has made a huge impact in his home country with his charity.

A number of years ago he teamed up with the Fiona Dolan Memorial Foundation to open up a permanent clinic in the country.

Fiona was an eye doctor who supported the charity but tragically died of a brain tumour at the age of only 36.

For Diane, 50, using her nursing skills to help as many people as possible has been a lifelong ambition.

The mum-of-two said: "I worked with Ergate and I admired his work so I wanted to help.

"I love being a nurse, I have been doing it for 32 years.

"It was all I ever wanted to do from I was three-years-old and I started training as soon as I left school.

"It is great using the skills I have here to help in other countries where people are much worse off."