When CAFOD appealed for a new representative at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Tilehurst back in 1990, Margaret Chaplin volunteered to fill the position until, in her words, ‘someone more knowledgeable came along’.
Margaret told us, “Apart from helping to clean the church and wash up after functions, I didn’t do much for our parish, so when they were asking for someone to post the contributions to CAFOD from our Friday Self Denial envelopes, as our CAFOD representative was leaving the area, I volunteered. It was just meant to be on a temporary basis, but that was 20 years ago! I am no longer physically able to clean the church or wash up, but yes! You’ve guessed it! I’m still doing CAFOD!
When I started, Father Kelleher was our parish priest and CAFOD was always very special to him. We had a coffee morning after 10.30am Mass on the first Sunday of the month and this has continued down the years. Nowadays it’s organised by the youth group who do a very good job of it and collect about £100 a year.
Our parish has supported a number of CAFOD initiatives over the years, the Fast Days, emergency appeals, and a special Water and Health programme in Cambodia. Now we are part of Connect2: Ethiopia. We receive regular updates on a community in Beira and hear directly from the people there about their lives, hopes and struggles. We also have the opportunity to share something of our own parish life with them.”
Yesterday, Margaret was presented with a National Long Service Award by Lynda on behalf of CAFOD’s Director, Chris Bain.
Margaret has been working tirelessly for CAFOD – with the parish’s support for such an impressive length of time, we just had to try and say thank you in this small way. She’s always working behind the scenes, thanking people for their generosity and prayers and letting them know the impact their donations have made around the world.
She’s the first to say that she could not have done any of this without the entire community at St Joseph’s who time and time again have demonstrated their commitment to those living in extreme poverty around the world.
CAFOD was started by dedicated, visionary women back in 1960 who wanted to make a difference in the world, and the agency continues to be supported by a wide range of steadfast volunteers. We simply would not be where we are today, without volunteers like Margaret.
Chris Bain, our Director wanted to express his thanks on behalf of the organization, and asked me to thank her for her incredible commitment to the poor throughout the world. All I can add is just how grateful we are to Margaret and say thank you on behalf of all those whose lives will have been touched as a result of her work.
Margaret added, “My part is very small but I am very pleased to still be involved with such a worthwhile charity, and I would like to thank all fellow parishioners for their support through the years.”
Thank you so much Margaret! And thank you everyone at St Joseph’s too!