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Vicar’s birthday plunge to tackle global poverty

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Dec, 2019 05:21 PM

A Dorset vicar's plans to celebrate his 60th birthday in whizzing style has raised over £300 for Christian Aid's Christmas Appeal.

The Revd Simon Evans, from St Thomas' Church Bournemouth stepped up to help people across the world, together with youngest participants Georgina Copsey-White (11) and Hannah Wills (9), from Poole Methodist Church. The brave participants from 4 local churches took the plunge in the sponsored Zip Wire Challenge from Bournemouth Pier.

Georgina said:

"On Saturday 16 November Hannah Wills and I did the Bournemouth Pier Zipline. My favourite bit was stepping out into the air - it felt amazing! However, I didn't like walking up the steps because the tower was swaying! We have raised £360 from sponsor money and want to say thank you to everybody who sponsored us."

Hannah added:

"When I put the harness and helmet on I felt nervous. Georgina went down the zip wire and had the best time of her life. When I looked at her go down it made me feel like she was mad, but then I remembered that I was going to do it, so I must be mad too!

"When it was my turn I didn’t think it was quite right to just step off into thin air. The man asked me whether I would like him to hold my harness, and then let me go. When I did, I thought 'hang on, this isn’t so bad'. For a couple of seconds I let go of my harness, which was a strange experience. 4 grown-ups did it too. It's amazing how much money we raised that day."

This Christmas, Christian Aid is asking people to help women around the world facing prejudice, violence and oppression. As churches and individuals remember the resilience and strength of Mary in the Nativity story, the charity’s seasonal appeal is highlighting how whole families and communities around the world can thrive, if mothers and women are given the opportunity to discover their voices and gifts.

The zip wire challenge from pier to shore was the brainchild of Bournemouth Christian Aid group member Kathy May.

Kathy said:

“I gave a big yell as I launched off down the zip wire to show we are with the many women around the world who have currently no 'voice'; little or no power to influence the lives of their families and communities for the better.

“Just a few moments’ bravery and fun on the zip wire and we could make a difference by raising money to empower women and their families across the world to thrive and not just survive.”

Christian Aid’s Regional Coordinator for Dorset Fiona Daborn said: “I loved the energy of Kathy’s idea, which is fitting because time and time again we hear stories from around the world of the resilience of women determined to forge a better life for their children.

“This Christmas we are sharing the stories of mothers such as Ranjita (30) from Rajasthan, India, who cleaned latrines and sewers by hand from the age of 9, but with the help of a Christian Aid-funded self-help group, discovered she was entitled to a government compensation grant and helped to find a dignified occupation. She is now earning a living as a tailor and able to send her daughter to school.”

Last Christmas, churches and individuals across Dorset raised over £6500 for Christian Aid. Other events in support of the appeal this year include Christmas Eve carol singing from 9.30-10.30am on 24th December outside Barclays bank on South Street, Dorchester.

1 in 3 women globally experiences gender-based violence in their lifetime*. Approximately one third of married women in developing countries report having little or no say over their own healthcare, and more than 2.6 billion live in countries where rape within marriage is not considered a crime.

Research shows that more money in women’s hands contributes not only to eliminating poverty but also to better education, nutrition and health outcomes for children and other members of the household.

To find out more about the Christmas Appeal, or to donate, click here.

In India, £5 could buy a set of clothes for school and £19 could provide a woman with skills training, like tailoring, to enable her to set up a business.

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