A huge thank you to all those people in the village and surrounding areas who took part in the annual appeal for shoeboxes which are distributed by the Bethlehem Humanitarian Centre in Hunedora, an area which has suffered from deprivation over recent years. I should like to bring you up to date with this year’s appeal.
In November we collected 132 boxes from St Nicolas Church, this included 15 from Dunsfold. Cranleigh Rotary Club collected 64 from the community and 742 from the local schools; (Glebelands 219, St. Cuthbert Mayne 96, Parkmead 54, Wonersh and Shamley Green 86, Cranleigh Preparatory and Cranleigh School 85, Church of England Primary 98, Long Acre 75, St Josephs17 and the Rikkyo School 12.)
We normally store our boxes, along with those from churches in Poole and Sevenoaks, at Cranleigh Riding for the Disabled barn at Rowly. From there they are normally taken to Daventry. This year, however, there were problems with the storage depot there and so we were asked if all the boxes from the other churches around the country, who take part in this appeal, could come to Cranleigh and be collected from here in the large articulated lorry.
The RDA kindly agreed and Ralph Gregory, and another member of a Northampton Church collected boxes from the other churches in Newcastle, Leeds, Luton, Frinton, and Berkhamsted – an exhausting journey. In all it came to a total of 2,314 boxes, plus clothing, knitted hats and scarves, toys etc. Additionally Glasgow and Tiverton deliver their boxes directly to Hunedora, (over 1,000 more boxes).
All the boxes had to be put onto pallets ready to be loaded and volunteers from St Nicolas Church and Cranleigh Rotary Club joined together to do this. The first lorry unfortunately was involved in an accident and another was hastily procured. The boxes were finally packed up and the articulated lorry set off for Romania on Monday December 2nd.
Michael Wild and I are stepping down from the organisation this year as we have been involved for a number of years. We are hopeful that others in the village will take over and carry on this rewarding work; talks are ongoing.
With grateful thanks to all the volunteers who helped at each stage of the appeal and whose hard work made it all happen; to the people who gave boxes and lent machinery and of course to the RDA who kindly lent us their barn, without which none of this would not have been possible.
Ruth Collins and the shoebox team.