An eight-year-old Braintree boy has developed a strong friendship with a 10-year-old living in poverty in the Dominican Republic.

Despite the language barrier, huge cultural differences and a distance of more than 4,000 miles, Daniel Akomolafe and Andrelvi had an instant connection when they met.

The Akomolafe family sponsor Andrelvi, who is enrolled in a Compassion project, run by child development charity Compassion UK.

When planning their Christmas family holiday abroad, they decided to visit their sponsored child in his home in Las Flores, an impoverished district in the city of San Francisco de Macoris.

“I couldn't believe how well they connected, playing hide and seek almost immediately despite not being able to understand each other’s language” said Dr Dupe Akomolafe, Daniel’s mother, who works at Braintree’s Mount Chamber’s Surgery.

“Andrelvi is truly delightful and he is like part of our family. When we met him he wasn’t a stranger because the boys have been writing to each other, and sharing photos, since 2009. It was wonderful to watch them together.”