Chicken triumph again!

Sue Bownas from the CAFOD Chester Support group writes below of a tradition at Easter for the Chester communities.

For several years now the Chester CAFOD Support Group has raised hundreds of pounds each Easter thanks to Judy one of our founder members who  has been responsible for the annual preparation and sale of Easter Chickens. During lent a team of knitters led by Judy have created the rare breeds, whilst parishioners have been invited to provide the chocolate eggs that will fill them. Then ten days before Easter, the chickens go on sale, and it is over to the wonderful staff and pupils/ students at St Clare’s Primary School and Chester Catholic High school, and our fantastic parishioners to play their part by buying these amazing chicks.  

However, 2017 it seemed would be different; with Judy not able to lead us, it looked as though  Easter would be “chicken free” this year. 

That was to underestimate the strength of the team built up over the years!  A new leader emerged and soon a  team of knitters were at work and the annual request for chocolate eggs appeared in the parish newsletter,  and this lovely “tradition” was secured for another year.  Despite us having less time, ( with a later than usual start and the need for earlier sales in the schools as they broke up for Easter on 31 March) chickens of every hew and breeds, never before seen,  started to hatch and supplies sent to the schools for sale, and then with one week to go , we were completely sold out of chickens. 

 Our huge thanks go to all concerned: our generous and loyal knitters, fillers and buyers all made sure this annual sale happened again and, as a result, they have raised £ 542 for CAFOD’s Emergency Appeal for countries affected by famine in East Africa.

Find out more about our East Africa crisis appeal

 Although the needles are once again still, there is talk of us  making an earlier start next year …….”


Connect with CAFOD’s work online this Harvest Fast Day


Elizabeth, local farmer in Bolivia

Volunteers in the Diocese of Shrewsbury live thousands of miles from Bolivia. This Harvest Fast Day you have the chance to hear about life in Bolivia, from your own home!

On 7th October you are invited to join CAFOD online for your chance to hear from Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia. You can find out about CAFOD’s work in Bolivia and ask any questions you might have.

Joining an online talk is easy. Simply choose from the lunchtime and evening talks and register using your email address.

CAFOD volunteers and supporters have come together on three occasions throughout September to hear about Harvest Fast Day and about CAFOD’s work in Bolivia.


Nicanora and her family in Bolivia

Nikki Evans, Programme Officer for Bolivia, said:

“Families in Bolivia make the most they can out of every single penny and understand the importance of every grain of sand. They are hugely grateful for CAFOD supporters and any gift you can give as a donation will help them.”

“I’m so pleased that the Bolivian rural livelihoods projects were chosen for Hands On! Many of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Bolivia live in the highest parts of the Andes mountains and so it’s difficult for visitors to come and learn about the work the CAFOD supports.”

Hear more from  Nikki Evans during one of our online sessions.

If you have any questions please contact Eleanor at or call 0207 095 5332.

Ladies from St Alban’s, Wallasey make weekly lunch in aid of CAFOD

Five ladies with a combined age of 382 make a weekly lunch of soup and sandwiches for local people in Wallasey. They can be found every Friday – eleven months of the year (not August) – in the kitchen at St Alban’s. All their hard work is in aid of CAFOD.

Left to right: Mary Buckley, 86; Mary Cox, 85; Pat Williams, 66 and Louisa Morriss, 62

Left to right: Mary Buckley, 86; Mary Cox, 85; Pat Williams, 66 and Louisa Morriss, 62

On the day I visited the ladies and witnessed their tireless preparations, Mary, Mary, Pat and Louisa were in the kitchen from before 10am in the morning, preparing the choice of soups – cream of vegetable and mushroom – and the salmon and egg sandwiches. Jean was having a well deserved rest.

They told me that this lunch for CAFOD had been going for over 20 years and that they had raised  £40,000 in that time.

How to Guide to fundraising for CAFOD

Mary Buckley preparing the salmon.

Mary Buckley preparing the salmon.

Mary Buckley, seen here preparing the salmon, told me that although they ask for a one pound donation, people are very generous and usually give a lot more. She said: ” We usually keep the donations until we have enough to send off to CAFOD. In January we sent £1300.”

When I asked them why they do it, Mary Cox, unhesitatingly replied: “We enjoy it. It keeps us out of mischief and CAFOD need the money.” At which point Mary Buckley interjected saying: “We know the money will go to the people who need it”.


Pat Williams who is not a Catholic was roped in by a friend. Her friend brought her along a few years ago and now she is a regular contributor. Pat told me the other ladies look after her but ” at the same time they corrupt me!” She went on to say: “I was only coming for a time but now I don’t want to not come.”

Read about our urgent appeal for £3m to help over 10m people in Ethiopia facing extreme hunger.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay and sample the delicious looking soup and sandwiches but I shall certainly return on another Friday. Not just for the food, but for the uplift, inspiration and fun I found in the kitchen. Thank you Ladies for your generous spirit and support of CAFOD. Long may it continue!

Pat and Mary Cox making the sandwiches

Pat and Mary Cox making the sandwiches

Louisa at the stove

Louisa at the stove