A PARAMEDIC from Wimborne is among a team of British aid workers deployed to New Zealand following the devastating earthquake.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Christchurch at 12.51 local time on Monday.

Father-of-two David Murdoch, who works for the South West Ambulance Trust, flew out to New Zealand on Tuesday night.

It is not 40-year-old David’s first mercy mission.

In 2003 he and his wife Sian left their jobs and home comforts behind to embark on a three-year humanitarian aid trip to Kyrgyztan.

After mastering Russian, David passed on his vital life-saving skills and helped pioneer a much-needed paramedic system while Sian swapped her classroom at Boscombe’s Bethany Junior School to teach English.

Nine Hampshire firefighters, who assisted during the Haiti earthquake, as well as at disasters in Indonesia and Iran, are part of a 63-strong team from 13 UK fire services.

They will help search for people still trapped inside wrecked buildings, taking food, water and shelter to ensure that the UK rescue operation does not impact on New Zealand resources.

Group manager Pete Crook and Paul Murray from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service left for New Zealand on Tuesday night with seven others due to fly out later. Firefighter Lee Giffard said they would be using specialist rescue equipment to search for victims who may still be entombed in wrecked buildings.

Four books of condolence are situated around the twin town of Christchurch at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street, The Priory Church, the Tourist Information Centre in the High Street and Highcliffe Castle.

The borough council have also provided collection tins for any donations to the rescue effort.

Cllr Nick Geary, Mayor of Christchurch, said: “We would urge people to come and sign them to let the people affected by this terrible tragedy know that we are thinking of them.

“We feel so helpless being so far away but our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Christchurch, Dorset, resident, Matt Coombes was in New Zealand taking part in a senior world tennis championship when the quake struck.

He said they felt tremors at the tennis club in Timaru, which is around 102 miles from the city.

And former Parley Road resident Raye Drake, who now lives in Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island said: “We have just heard of the generosity of the people of Christchurch UK and want to say a huge thank you for your thoughts and wishes for our unfortunate people here.

“It makes me proud to be from Dorset.

“I know that I can speak for all of New Zealand and especially for the people of Christ- church – thank you so much for your thoughts, generosity and all your best wishes.”