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Firstly, I would like to say something about BKR, the Bryan, Kelvin and Rosie Fund set up by our Benefice in 2014 to support three largely abandoned Kenyan children. The initial aim was to provide support for a period of seven years with an uncle well-known to me looking after their well-being “on the ground” and using donations from our parishioners to feed and clothe them and send them to school. Those children are now grown up. Bryan subsequently met up with his father and is now in the capital, Nairobi. Kelvin tried his hand as an apprentice but, coming from a remote area close to the Ugandan border, found himself unable to settle in an urban environment and returned home to carry out small local jobs. Rosie, the youngest is now 18 and has just left primary school. With over 9 years now having passed since the BKR Kenya Fund was established and with the three children now over 18 and largely independent, the fund has now reached a natural conclusion.

I – and my fellow trustees – would like to thank sincerely all those donors whose contributions have made it possible to give the children a much better start in life than would otherwise have been the case.

But that is not all I would like to say. I have spent the last few years as a trustee of the McCabe Educational Trust which supports schools and similar organisations in what is known to the world as the West Bank – within what was historically known as the Holy Land – now modern-day Israel. The Educational Trust is an off shoot of the travel firm McCabe Pilgrimages and is closely linked to the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. Several members of our congregations have taken part in those pilgrimages. The Trust relies largely on donations from those attending pilgrimages for its income, usually giving a voluntary sum of twenty pounds.

Further details can be found from the website:

However, Covid – and now the war between Israel and Hamas – has resulted in no pilgrimages taking place in the West Bank for some time and the Educational Trust’s income halved overnight; money is fast running out.

Meanwhile, the needs of the children supported by the Educational Trust has more than doubled because of the war. I think few people in Britain realise Israel has cordoned off individual communities making it almost impossible to obtain food, medication, and other essentials. For most people it is too dangerous to travel outside their own community, although some are brave enough to do so. There is a shortage of money, and many teachers are on half pay. Day children can no longer travel to school, and boarders cannot go home. The situation is serious.

Israeli extremists have burnt down houses and there has been much gunfire. Children in the Blind School supported by the Educational Trust have been terrified because they can hear the gunfire but do not know where the fighting is coming from. Even young children have been attacked. Currently, Jibreel, a four-year-old boy, is seriously ill in Basr, the Arab Rehabilitation Society Hospital, after a car that was driven at him.

Basr, the Blind School, the Deaf School and Princess Basma Hospital are all organisations supported by the McCabe Educational Trust in the West Bank. It would be a tragedy if they had to close.

Because of the circumstances we are in, I and each of the other nine Trustees have promised to raise at least £1,000 this summer by doing sponsored events for the Trust. This is a lot of money to raise but I sincerely hope our congregations will help with sponsored events, the first of which will be a sponsored charity walk on Saturday 18 May.

A group plans to walk the Benefice boundary to raise funds which will go directly to those in need in the West Bank.

There will be a longer walk of approximately 15 miles and a shorter walk of about 8 miles for those with less energy!

If you can support this venture by sponsoring the walk, I would be most grateful. Please contact Roger Stoakley on 07896 460874 or

Supported in the West Bank:

Jeel-Amal-Boys Home in the village of Bethany now under economic collapse because of a new separation wall. 300 children now being educated in the primary school.

Al Shurooq School for the Blind to help the visually impaired in Palestine to become more self-sufficient.

Basr, The Arab Society. A non-profit organisation for rehabilitation.

The Basma Hospital on the Mount of Olives saving the lives of thousands of children with disabilities.

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