A SCHOOLGIRL from the North-East has formed an unlikely friendship with a World War Two prisoner of war.

Katie Spence, 15, from Consett, County Durham, was moved to write to Denis Avey after reading his book, The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz.

In the book, Mr Avey, now in his 90s, explains how he came to be held prisoner in E715A, a camp for Allied Prisoners of War adjacent to Monowitz.

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He says he exchanged uniforms with a Jewish inmate of Auschwitz to find out more about the conditions with a view to reporting them to the authorities after the war.

Mr Avey replied to her letter and he and Katie, a pupil of St Bede’s in Lanchester, have become pen friends and sent each other Christmas cards.

She said: “I was inspired and overwhelmed by the bravery of the man so I decided to contact the British holocaust centre who forwarded a letter that I wrote to him explaining to him my emotions and how proud of him I was.

“I am pleased that I had contacted him as I felt he deserved recognition for his actions.

“Mr Avey was very pleased to see that his book could inspire younger generations.”