2017 saw the 60th anniversary of Christian Aid Week and as part of the celebrations the charity sought ‘Diamond Award’ nominations to celebrate the invaluable contribution of their volunteers.
Lita Edgell of St Andrew’s in Chelmondiston was presented with the Diamond Award by Regional Coordinator Simon Snell during a Benefice service at St Andrew’s church. Lita began as the Samford Deanery Organiser for Christian Aid over 44 years ago and more recently for the local villages around Chelmo.
John Edwards, Churchwarden, said, “Lita would liaise with the organisers in the various villages, distribute the envelopes, and have to do the annual reporting to headquarters. She also organised the various collectors in Chelmondiston who would do house to house collections for specific roads. She and James also ran the Charity Stall on the first Sunday in May in St. Andrew’s which has been going for more years than I can remember!”
Simon Snell, Suffolk’s Regional Coordinator for Christian Aid said, ’It was wonderful to receive several nominations for Lita, and to have the opportunity to present her with this award, signed personally by Dr Rowan William’s our Chair. Through Lita’s hard work over many years, and all of the efforts of local churches, many house-to-house collectors, and the generosity of local, very nearly £75,000 has been raised across Samford Deanery during Christian Aid Week. We are truly grateful of her hard work and that of more than 1,000 house to house collectors and volunteers across Suffolk.”
Jim was Chair of the Bury St Edmunds Christian Aid team for 18 years, until 2013, and he is still involved now. Jim said, ‘I will never forget my visit with a Christian Aid group to
Rwanda where we were helping people, many of them orphans, to re-build their lives after the dreadful genocide. People walked many miles to see us just to say thank you and urging us to take their thanks back to people here.’
He continued, ‘I am passionate about Christian Aid as it fights the root causes of poverty, speaks out and campaigns for justice. It works with partners in the poorest parts of the world on a long-term basis where lives can be transformed by very small actions. Where there are natural disasters our partners will often be first to bring aid and the last to leave as they stay for, sometimes years, helping to re-build lives.’
Howard Scott, the current Chair of the Bury St Edmunds group said ‘Jim is a great example of someone who faithfully inspires others by his example to reach out to people in need, and reminds us to love our global neighbours in need. We continue to have fantastic support from churches across the town, and are planning fundraising events over the next few months, including an abseil down one of Bury St Edmunds’ historic buildings next year. We’d love to get more people involved who can give some time and energy to this, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org’