Chester CathSoc announces CAFOD as its charity of the year

Students at Chester University’s Catholic Society, affectionately known by its members as ‘CathSoc’, have recently announced the development charity CAFOD as their charity of the year.

cathsoc launch

Members of Chester CathSoc

One of CAFOD’s local representatives in Chester, Bridget Fenwick, visited a CathSoc meeting to share the work of CAFOD and officially launch the partnership.

The society, a part of Chester University, has previously supported CAFOD by fundraising – organising cake sales and an open mic night – and have taken part in national campaigns by writing and sending messages of hope to refugees.

This year the students will continue to raise money and support the charity in their campaigning efforts.

Kelly Haburigura, Chester CathSoc’s charity co-ordinator, said: “We are honoured to be working with CAFOD as our charity of the year. I hope the partnership will allow our students to become more involved with poverty reduction and to stand up for global justice through their faith.


CAFOD representative Bridget with members of Chester CathSoc

“As an international development student and devout Catholic, I am excited for this partnership because this is my chance to work on projects I am passionate about. Hopefully, these projects will leave a good impact on people and inspire other Catholic youths to continue to strive for change.”

Bridget Fenwick, CAFOD’s local representative in Chester, added: “It’s great to have this partnership with Chester University’s CathSoc. They are an incredibly passionate group of young people who are visibly putting their faith into action.

“The group have been a great support to us already, and it’s brilliant to be their chosen charity for this academic year. We are really looking forward to seeing how the partnership progresses.”

Find out more about CAFOD

Diamond couple donate to CAFOD

A happy couple from Sale recently celebrated sixty years of marriage surrounded by their nearest and dearest at St Hugh’s Parish Centre, Timperley, choosing to donate to CAFOD instead of receiving gifts. 


Sheila and John Ridd met at a dance hall in Longford Park, Stretford, when they were 19 and 23 respectively.

After John spotted a ‘red headed, blue eyed’ girl across the room and asked her for a dance, the rest was history.   They married in St Theresa’s Church, Firswood, Stretford in 1957.

Since then, they have had three children, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The whole family gathered together to celebrate Mass and watch as Sheila and John renewed their vows, at a ceremony presided over by parish priest Fr. Pat Monroe and Fr. Jim McGrath. There followed a party for over 90 people.  Unfortunately, their family from New Zealand were unable to attend!

The party featured a video compilation of their lives made by their eldest son and live music from their granddaughter, with John describing the evening as “absolutely fantastic.”

Instead of receiving gifts, the couple asked for donations to CAFOD, the Catholic overseas development charity, and collected over £300 from their charitable guests.

John said: “We’ve had such a wonderful relationship. Sheila’s from a big family, the eldest of seven, so she has kept me in line over the years!  We chose to donate to CAFOD instead of receiving gifts, as after sixty years of living in our home, it’s full to the brim with everything we need.”

Sheila added: “We received a card from the Queen and a blessing from the Pope on our anniversary.

“The party was brilliant, and everything went to plan.  It was nice to bring everybody together to celebrate the lovely times we’ve had over the years.

“It was a real family affair, and a number of friends were invited from the parish, including the priest – they’re our parish family.”

Bridget Fenwick, CAFOD’s local representative in Sale, said: “It sounds as if Sheila and John have had such a lovely marriage, and what a kind way to pass forward their good fortune.

“The money they have raised will go to helping CAFOD to stand beside people living in poverty overseas.

“We’d like to send both our gratitude and congratulations to the pair!”

Thank you John and Sheila for your wonderful support!

Find out more about the work CAFOD does

Wirral volunteers celebrate breaking £180,000 fundraising total for CAFOD in fifteen years of coastal walk

On 15 September, walkers from the annual Wirral coastal walk came together to celebrate their incredible achievement of raising over £180,000 for CAFOD.

Wirral Walk_total over the years copy

This year saw the fifteenth year of CAFOD volunteer Finbarr Stewart organising a team for the annual Wirral coastal walk.  The walk, which spanned over 15 miles in its entirety, has now raised £182,000 in total for CAFOD, with the group raising a massive £13,000 this year alone.

One of the team-members was Mimi, who was the youngest person to take on the walk this year.

Aged just nine, Mimi walked with her uncle, Richard, inspired to take action after a visit to a refugee camp in Lesbos with her mum.

She said: “My mum helped me to keep walking by promising me an ice cream at the end!   We sang silly songs along the way.


Mimi and her Uncle.

“I wanted to do the walk as I have been to a refugee camp in Lesbos with my mum and joined in with the children in the children’s tent there.”

Mimi was joined by 40 other keen fundraisers from across the Wirral and surrounding areas, who came together to walk the distance from Seacombe ferry to the Wirral Country Park visitor centre on 18 June.

There were three finish lines to make the walk inclusive: one at four miles, one at ten miles and another at 15 miles.

Finbarr Stewart, who organises the CAFOD team, said: “This year the money is being divided and donated to CAFOD’s Syria and Yemen appeals. I’m really pleased with how much has been raised.

“People of all ages take part in the challenge, and some have joined me every year since we started raising money for CAFOD, but it’s great to have been able to welcome new walkers too.”

Organised by the Rotary Club of North Wirral, the walk raises money for many different charities and takes its participants past landmarks such as Britain’s longest promenade, Kings Parade, and Fort Perch Rock, a fort built in the Second World War.

Bridget Fenwick, CAFOD’s local representative, added: “Finbarr’s achievement of co-ordinating the walkers over the past fifteen years, and raising so much this year, is a brilliant one.  We’re so happy that the team once again walked for CAFOD – it’s their support that makes such a difference.

“The CAFOD walkers have raised a staggering amount over the last fifteen years and we are very grateful to everyone who has taken part.”

Thank you to everyone who walked for CAFOD!

Find out more about CAFOD’s Yemen and Syria appeals.