A FORMER North-East counsellor is helping English families in the US to cope with their loss following the September terrorist attacks.

Alan Leach, from Middlesbrough, was a volunteer for Cruse Bereavement Care in the UK before moving to New Jersey.

He has now agreed to be a contact for English families of the victims of the New York disaster.

A spokesman for Cruse in Darlington said: "There has been a UK Cruse presence in New York at various times since the disaster, but there are still some relatives going to America for the first time since it happened.

"Although British Cruse volunteers cannot be there all the time, we now have Alan, who can be an important first point of contact for the relatives.

"He is from the region originally and he has been a Cruse volunteer, so he will be an important person for the victims' families who may need support."

Mr Leach's credentials were checked by the British Embassy before he was allowed to take on the voluntary role.

The Embassy in New York has Mr Leach's details to pass on to families who may ask them for support.

Mr Leach will be able to offer counselling and support to victims' families and friends who may not have been able to get to New York since the disaster.