Billingham Volunteer Begins Gap Year Adventure!

A Billingham volunteer is dedicating a year to working alongside communities across the world by taking part in a gap year programme run by CAFOD.

Hannah Collinson

Hannah Collinson, our new gap year volunteer

Hannah Collinson is taking part in the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme after graduating from the University of Leeds with a Masters in Chemistry.

She will spend the year campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness of CAFOD’s work at a placement in the Hexham and Newcastle diocese.

Hannah will also make an international trip to meet vulnerable communities that the charity works alongside.

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Birtley couple recognised for 45 years’ service

A Birtley couple celebrating their sapphire wedding anniversary have been recognised for their CAFOD work after raising over £100,000. 

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Kevin and Kathleen with their grandchildren

Kevin and Kathleen Haigh first signed up to volunteer for the aid agency CAFOD in 1971 and have continued throughout their married life.

The couple have put on fundraising events every year that they’ve been married, raising a staggering £100,000 for CAFOD’s work with vulnerable communities overseas.

“We have found many different ways of raising funds and awareness. We have held auctions, sponsored walks, had soup for tea afternoons on a Friday and sung carols in Gateshead’s Metro Centre since it was built,” said Kevin. 

And despite their amazing achievement, they have committed to continue their work.

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St. Cuthbert’s raise money for CAFOD and celebrate Oscar Romero Mass!


     A few years ago, the Justice and Peace group at St. Cuthbert’s organised a showing of a


Enjoying the food!

film about the life of Oscar Romero, and the idea to show this again had recently come to light. Julie Maguire and Father Gordon decided that the showing of this film could be expanded into a full event to celebrate the year of Oscar Romero, and to encourage more people to get involved. In addition, this event was one of the last for Father Gordon before he leaves for St. Augustine’s parish in Darlington, and I am sure it was a special one.

This wonderful event took place on Sunday 13 August; it began with a Mass where Father Gordon spoke about the life and work of Oscar Romero followed by the showing of a


The Romero Cross and CAFOD Posters

 short CAFOD film, and the new Romero Cross being shown. The parishioners also used CAFOD’s resources to help to further inform people – the children were given a Romero cross to colour in. The parishioners were also given an informative leaflet and an Aspire postcard provided by the Romero Trust and CAFOD.

Following on from the Mass, a Salvadoran themed evening was attended in St. Cuthbert’s Centre by around 30 parishioners. They listened to traditional El Salvadoran music, whilst eating Salvadoran themed food, and drinking South American coffee. As you can imagine, there was very little food left, and the experience was one enjoyed by all – the people who attended thought that it was a ‘worthy celebration’, and that it was ‘a fitting tribute to Oscar Romero.’

The final part of the night involved a showing of the film Romero. The film moved many of the parishioners; it was described as thought provoking, sad, informative and inspiring. One parishioner said they were absolutely captivated! Donations from the night also managed to raise £50.90 for CAFOD – what a success – thank you to Julie Maguire for her dedication to the evening!

There are many Oscar Romero resources on our website, including videos, quotes and posters should you want to get involved in celebrating his centenary – and of course there are many more fundraising ideas to get involved with!