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Boxing Day tsunami orphans to open children's home in Sri Lanka

Gandys Rob (L) and Paul (R) Forkan pose with youngsters in Vasco da Gama on the west coast of India. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rob and Paul Forkan will open the home in the new year

Two brothers who lost their parents in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami are to open a children's home dedicated to their parents in the country where they died.

Rob and Paul Forkan were on holiday in Sri Lanka when it was hit by deadly tidal waves.

Their parents, Sandra and Kevin, died while saving their younger children.

The brothers set up a business called Gandys selling flip flops which will help fund the home in Mau Gama.

Robert, who was 17 at the time, survived the disaster along with Paul, then 15, brother Mattie, 12, and eight-year-old sister Rosie.

Image caption The brothers said Boxing Day would be "slightly more poignant" this year on the 10th anniversary of the disaster

Speaking at the company's office in Southfields, south-west London, Robert, now 27, said Boxing Day would be "slightly more poignant" this year on the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

"We spend Boxing Day differently every year," he said. "Some years we've been out in India volunteering, some years we've had a family one in the UK.

"Every day we've had to live with it for the last 10 years, but it will be slightly more poignant. For us that happened 10 years ago, but to be now building our own children's home, at least something positive will come from it.

Describing their story on Gandys' website, the Forkan family, who were living in Croydon, south London, before the tsunami, were woken on Boxing Day in 2004 by screams and huge waves tearing through their hotel rooms.

Parents Kevin, 54, and Sandra, 40, struggled against the mass of water to put their two youngest children on to the roof of the hotel building.

Robert managed to climb up the building and grab a metal bar, while clutching Paul with his other arm.

"We don't really like talking about the day, as you can imagine," Robert said. "It's not a nice thing to talk about. What we saw that day, you can't describe in a few words."

The pair launched Gandys Flip Flops in 2012 and set up the Orphans for Orphans movement to fund children's projects for less fortunate youngsters.

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