A GREAT Harwood man has vowed to stay in war-torn Lebanon despite a mass evacuation of Britons fleeing to safety.
Thousands of foreign nationals have been shipped out of the stricken Middle East country as war rages between the Israelis and Arab militant group Hezbollah.
Father-of-three Mike Bramley, 39, said he and his family plan to stay in their home in the capital Beirut despite Israeli bombs exploding less than six miles away.
Mike, who has been working in the city for the past four years, lives with his Lebanese wife Adele, 29, their son George, three, and their 13-month-old twin daughters Lesley and Sarah.
He said: "I'd be lying if I said we weren't scared. Everybody's scared. Luckily the Israelis have been bombing the Hezbollah stronghold at the other side of the city by the airport but we still hear the explosions.
"The other night they dropped 23 tons of explosives and our whole house shook. The twins are too young to know what's going on but George gets scared when he hears a big bang so I tell him it's just fireworks."
Mike, a former pupil of St John's Primary School, Great Harwood, and Norden High School, Rishton, works as a service manager for Bentley and Jaguar cars and said his loyalty to his employers and his love of the country would keep them there.
Despite UN predictions of a "humanitarian disaster", he said life was continuing pretty much as normal but the family had stockpiled food rations in case the situation worsened.
He added: "The logistics of getting three young children out of the country is a nightmare. I'm not a mercenary but we're digging our heels in and preparing for a rough time. If things escalate then I would have to do what's best for my family."
Looking to the future, Mike hopes the country will rebuild and develop after the current crisis and remain a top holiday destination for people living in the Middle East.
His mum Lesley, of Albert Street, Great Harwood, said: "I'm not very happy about the situation in Lebanon but Mike has a lot of friends there and the family are settled. He tells me it's not as bad as it looks on television.
"The country is absolutely beautiful and I am looking forward to my next trip out there."