FOR 15-years, Rod Jones has sent hundreds of tonnes of basic living essentials from Teesside to remote communities in Romania.

It has always been a struggle until the weekend when a national supermarket chain backed the mercy missions organised by Convoy Aid, which was founded by Mr Jones and run with his Romanian wife, Gabriella.

Asda is sending £27,000-worth of fleeces and other items of clothing to needy people in Romania.

A three-strong team from the company's headquarters will accompany Mr and Mrs Jones when they travel to Iash near the Russian border, on Wednesday .

The trio, from Asda's public relations department, will spend three days in Romania, overseeing the distribution of clothes from the company's George range.

Mr Jones supervised the loading of another lorry at the weekend with 32 tonness of aid, ranging from a farm tractor and quad bike to tiles, household fittings, more clothing and paint.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted. This consignment is going to change lives.

"The help from Asda comes as a vote of confidence in Convoy Aid, following an unhappy beginning to 2005."

In January, German customs officials dismantled the charity's 4 x 4 vehicle when, on the return leg from a mission to Romania, Mr Jones drove into a stop-and-search check for drugs.

More recently, Mr Jones temporarily stepped down from the charity after a spurious complaint led to an investigation by the Charities Commission, that declared itself satisfied and gave Convoy Aid the all-clear to continue operating.

Mr Jones said: "After all this carry on with the Charity Commission, it is nice to know people still trust us; especially with a donation of £27,000 worth of new clothes. It is a vote of confidence.''

Asda was approached for help by a Hartlepool woman who travelled to Romania on a previous mission, saw the work carried out by Convoy Aid and raised £1,000 to help the charity's work.

The trips to Romania began in 1990 in memory of Mr Jones's son, also called Rodney, who had been accepted to take humanitarian aid to the country but was killed in a car accident before he could go