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6-ARBROATH

Arbroath parish raises four figure sum for charities and church repairs on annual walk

Parishioners in Arbroath have raised £1,000 and counting for refugees and other charities last week by walking, running and cycling from St Anne's Church, Carnoustie, to St Thomas' Church, Arbroath. — By Colette Cooper

Around 40 walkers and several cyclists from St Thomas’ parish took part in the eight-mile journey during the eighth annual fundraising walk on Saturday August 17.

A BBQ was held afterwards in St Thomas’ garden.

So far, the group has raised just over £1,000, with more funds promised. The money will be divided between various different charities, with a little going towards repairs at St Thomas’ Church.

Polish influence

The charities aided by the walk include Asylum Link, an organisation which does vital work with asylum seekers and refugees in Liverpool, providing a safe place for them to meet.

Proceeds will also be given to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Charity which works to save lives at sea round the coasts of the UK.

Judy McLellan, one of the organisers of the walk, said that the event began eight years ago when two female Polish parishioners wanted to do something to raise money for church repairs.

Catholic outreach

“Then we decided to give part of the money raised to SCIAF as they help the poorest of the poor in many countries, and this was done for about three years,” Ms McLellan said.

“Over the last three years, we decided, as part of our Catholic outreach and commitment to the less fortunate, to use part of the funds to help smaller charities, especially those with a humanitarian remit.”

She added that the parish felt they had to do more as ‘there are a number of refugees and migrants in Arbroath from Syria’ and that they ‘heard their stories and offered them some aid in the form of clothing, furniture, toys, baby equipment.’

Ancestors

“We are all part of the human family. Most refugees have left behind everything and risked their lives and the lives of their children to seek a safe and better life,” she said.

“Many of our own ancestors at some point in our history, if not actual refugees, were migrants to this country or migrants from this country to areas of the New World.”

The walk has continued to raise funds for a number of local charities over the years.

FoodKIND

“The daughter of one of our parishioners started her own charity, FoodKIND, after going to Greece and pulling refugees out of the sea on to the beaches.

“FoodKIND was set up to feed people in two centres in Greece. Thousands have been fed, including the homeless as well as refugees,” Ms McLellan said.

“This year, as part of our Catholic outreach and social teaching, we are helping Asylum Link Merseyside in Liverpool which helps some of the most desperate migrants and refugees.”

Calais

The parish has also supported the Catholic Worker House (Maria Skobstova House) in Calais, which houses young men and boys fleeing from countries where there is violence and unrest.

Ms McLellan added that the walk is a healthy way of involving people of all ages in the life of the parish.

“We started the first year with about 20 people walking or running. Last year, we had nearly 50 people walking, running or cycling and more at the BBQ in the church garden afterwards.

“It turns into a great parish day out,” she said.

Last year’s walk raised more than £2,000.

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