Making a splash in memory of Simone


The following blog was written by our colleague Hannah Caldwell from the Legacy team, and recently published on the main CAFOD blog. In this special month of November in which we remember our loved ones, we are pleased to share this story of hope from our diocese with you.

“Many of us have lost a friend or a family member, and take the opportunity especially at this time of year to pray for them and to give thanks for the times we shared. A number of our supporters have chosen to remember their loved ones by making a donation to CAFOD in their memory, or by setting up a Candlelight Fund – a special way to create a lasting tribute to someone who has died.  Some of the funds are supported by friends and family, and others are a more private act of remembrance, but each of the funds stand as testament to the values of the deceased, and the life and love they shared.

Simone Johnson (nee Cave) is one special lady who is remembered by a Candlelight Fund, and this summer a fundraising swim was held in her memory at Hayling Island Sailing Club. Around 80 of Simone’s friends and family gathered to pay tribute to Simone – swimming, paddling and sharing stories and memories. Simone’s mum, Judy, who set up her Candlelight Fund, told us: “It was a lovely occasion, which Simone would have delighted in.”

“Her friends organised it and asked people to wear pink hats or something pink. Simone absolutely loved cold water swimming and, as a regular at the sailing club, could always be spotted from afar by her pink swim cap.

“We had a great time. It was non-competitive, with everyone chatting as they swam. We finished up with coffee, chocolate cake & chocolate éclairs – chocolate being another of Simone’s great loves.”

Everyone had great fun, and raised a fantastic £415 for Simone’s Candlelight Fund, which supports the work of the Ana Manganaro Clinic in Guarjila, El Salvador.

ana manganaro nurse mother and child

Simone’s legacy: bringing hope to new parents

As a health journalist and mother of three young children, Simone was passionate about maternal and infant healthcare and had written six books for new parents. Following her tragic death last year, her family decided to set up a Candlelight Fund so Simone’s values and faith could live on through CAFOD’s work.

The Ana Manganaro Clinic provides low cost or free healthcare to thousands of people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access even basic services. It has a particular focus on looking after pregnant women and new mothers. The clinic runs monthly workshops on pregnancy and birth, childcare, nutrition and general hygiene.  Women receive the care they need, and children under five get monthly medical checks. A radio programme is aired each week to promote health and hygiene – a great way to reach a large audience and especially people who can’t read.

The clinic also provides care for the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions, and aims to improve health of the local communities by raising awareness of issues such as HIV and AIDS, and nutrition. Poor sanitation is a major cause of illness, so the clinic also promotes latrine building and maintenance of safe drinking water systems.  This helps local communities improve their own facilities and dramatically reduces the spread of infections.

Thank you

Simone’s Fund has raised an amazing £5,602 so far, making a huge difference to the thousands of people who benefit from the clinic each year. We are so grateful for the fantastic efforts of all those involved in the fund, and are deeply honoured to play a part in paying tribute to such a wonderful lady.

This All Souls Day, we ask you to join with us in praying for all those who have died, as well as Simone’s family and friends and all those who are missing someone special.

A CAFOD Candlelight Fund is an amazing way to commemorate someone who’s touched and inspired you during your life. For more information about Candlelight Funds, please contact Hannah Caldwell at or phone for a chat on 020 7095 5348.”

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