BY Ian Dunn | August 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

DUNCAN-BANNATYNE-MARY'S-MEA

Mary’s Meals given Papal boost

Organisation is named as an official Papal visit charity and is aided by Duncan Bannatyne

Mary’s Meals received a double boost this week when it was named one of the official charities of the Papal visit to Scotland and Dragon’s Den Star Duncan Bannatyne broadcast a radio appeal on the charity’s behalf.

Mary’s Meals and Marie Curie Cancer Care have been chosen as the official charities of Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to Scotland on September 16. The visit is expected to net Glasgow’s economy around £4.5 million and at least as much again in publicity because of the global audience watching on television and the internet.

Mary’s Meals has grown from its first feeding operation of 200 children in Malawi to a worldwide campaign, providing free daily school meals to about 400,000 children in countries including Albania, Romania and Uganda.Teams of volunteers from Mary’s Meals and Marie Curie Cancer Care will be collecting donations before the parade to mark the feast of St Ninian on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, prior to the Pope’s motorcade through the city centre.

Great opportunity

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder of Mary’s Meals, said it was a great opportunity.

“The St Ninian’s Day parade promises to be a wonderful event, bringing together people across Scotland to welcome the Pope on his visit,” he added. “Mary’s Meals is thrilled to have been chosen as one of the charities to benefit from the celebration, and our staff and volunteers are looking forward to being involved on the day.

“Any monies raised by Mary’s Meals will help provide school meals for hungry children in some of the world’s poorest countries, enabling them to access education that will help them to escape poverty in the long term.”

Paul Thompson is head of community fundraising in Scotland and Northern Ireland, for Marie Curie Cancer Care also said they were delighted to be involved in the Papal visit.

“With tens of thousands of people expected to turn out for the parade and the Pope’s journey through Edinburgh, it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise substantial funds for the services we provide to people with cancer and other terminal illnesses here in Scotland,” he said.

Duncan Bannatyne broadcast an appeal for Mary’s Meals on BBC radio 4 last Sunday.

The Glasgow-born entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star is a long-time supporter of Mary’s Meals and has visited its projects in Malawi and Romania—experiences that he talked about about on air.

The three-minute broadcast focused on Mary’s Meals’ work providing some of the world’s poorest children with a meal a day in their place of education. Listeners also heard the sounds of children singing and playing at a school in Malawi.

“We want to thank Duncan Bannatyne for giving his time and energies to help Mary’s Meals, and the Radio 4 appeal team for their advice and support,” said Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Mary’s Meals chief-executive. “Mary’s Meals is growing rapidly and this BBC appeal is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our story with people across the UK.”

— Donations to Mary’s Meals should be sent to FREEPOST BBC Radio 4 Appeal, please mark the back of your envelope Mary’s Meals. Credit cards: Freephone 0800 404 8144

— ian@scottishcatholicobserver.org.uk

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