AN inspirational retired teacher who helped to change the lives of hundreds of children in poor communities in the Caribbean and Africa has written two books about the aid project he led from Inverclyde.

David Miles-Hanschell, now 80, spent several years in Inverclyde collecting books from local schools that were closing down due to mergers, and shipped them out in containers.

He did this after retiring, having set up his charity Surplus Educational Supplies Foundation (SESF) in 2005 to assist in the aftermath of the Hurricane Ivan disaster in Grenada.

Books and furniture were sent from the likes of the old Greenock Academy and Gourock High, as well as several primary schools, and delivered to struggling school communities in Grenada, Liberia and Jamaica.

David was born in Barbados and lived in Canada and had a series of jobs all over the world before settling in Scotland and training as a teacher.

During the Covid-19 pandemic he started combining his diaries into a book, and has published two volumes of 'Diary of a Shipping Clerk' about the work of his charity.

He is planning to publish a further three diaries.

At the height of his charity collections David had a number of bases in Inverclyde, including the Lynedoch Industrial Estate in Greenock before moving to the Oak Mall.

He said: "I have sent thousands of books abroad over the years. They were from Inverclyde schools, the old James Watt College and the entire stock of books from Rothesay Library.

"I've always loved reading and I couldn't bear to see all these books being scrapped. I wanted to salvage them.

"Many of these communities don't have any books, many people are still struggling to read.

"I got so much support in Inverclyde for the project, especially from the Inverclyde branch of the EIS union and local teachers from Glenburn School and Inverkip Primary."

Gourock Primary donated 30 boxes of books to the charity back in 2013.

The final shipment from Inverclyde was to Grenada back in 2016.

David said: "It's been a privilege. I have made so many friends through the charity. I have many people to thank, including my copy editor and Andrew Hemphill and his former team at Peel Ports Clydeport Ocean Terminal in Greenock, who stored the containers for free."

For more information about the charity visit

David's books are available on Amazon and he can be contacted by emailing