Winchester charity, Child Health International, could soon extend its mission to help children in the Caribbean.

Until now, its pioneering work has helped energise parents and doctors in Russia, the Ukraine and Lithuania.

But Winchester-based heart surgeon, Marcus Haw, has also identified the southern Caribbean as an area that has particular need for help in developing its cardiac service.

"CHI could play an important part in delivering the sort of aid that is required," he said. "About 60 children will receive the necessary surgery this year, but around 400 children need it. There is an urgent need to increase the volume and level of skills training."

A future plan could be based on the CHI-supported project to establish a regional base for children's heart surgery and training in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. This was led by Dr Haw, who has done similar work in Russia.

The surgeon, who works at Southampton General Hospital, is a trustee of CHI.

Meanwhile, Dorothea Ridgway, the widow of the charity's founder, Roy, has travelled to Odessa to receive a posthumous award for his work. The honorary doctorate from Odessa University scientific council recognises Mr Ridgway's contribution to helping Ukrainian children with cystic fibrosis and heart problems.

Roy Ridgway died in November 2000. He founded the charity in 1992 and CHI continues and broadens that work.

Mrs Ridgway also visited a project to help Odessa's street children.

A CHI supporter, Madeleine Goodman, will visit Bucharest shortly for discussions with the parents of cystic fibrosis sufferers.