The Messenger 12th July 2024

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WINGS 50th Anniversary Year!

WINGS 50th Anniversary Year!

WINGS, World In Need Group Scheme, was set up in 1974 as a sub-committee of the Deanery Pastoral Council. The aims in the WINGS constitution were to raise awareness of the ‘problems and needs of the Third World (as it was designated at the time), and our responsibilities towards it, to raise funds to alleviate injustice and suffering and to liaise with other Christian organisations to that end’. High ideals indeed!
Founder members were Frank Murphy, our first chairman, Angela Le Page, secretary, Bernard Gill, treasurer, Ian Le Page, Martin Gill, Vivienne Counihan (Thomson), Margaret Edmondson, Ann O’Mahoney, Don Hearne, Lilian Hamilton, Nigel Massey and Moira Murphy and Fr Bernard Fisher and Fr Martin Laker. Later stalwarts include Anne and Bryan Mauger, who kept WINGS going in the 90s, Helen Curran (Foxen) and Margaret Langlois.
On a personal note, a motivating factor in founding WINGS was as a memorial to Mary Gill, Bernard’s daughter, my sister and a pupil at Notre Dame, who had died that year, aged 11, from leukaemia. She was greatly distressed by the suffering due to a famine in Ethiopia and counted herself lucky to be so well cared for.
Our main partner was CAFOD, the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development. CAFOD had a scheme whereby groups in Catholic parishes could choose a project such as the digging of a well in a village, providing sewing machines to create cottage industries, or books for schools etc. We were provided with a description and the cost of the project then raised funds by means of a monthly second collection from the Catholic churches. WINGS also managed the biannual CAFOD Family Fast Days and Christian Aid Week, providing door to door collectors in the St Peter Port area.
When Portsmouth Catholic Diocese was twinned with Bamenda, Cameroon in the same year, WINGS took on the request of Bishop
Worlock to raise £1,000 toward the building of a church and community centre in Bamenda. An appeal was made at the end of Masses by WINGS members. The Catholic community in Guernsey responded with huge generosity and over £1200 was donated in a month. Bear in mind that today £1200 would have a value of around £12,000. Besides funding projects in the developing countries, WINGS members also gave talks in the Catholic schools, held film nights, produced a news sheet describing the projects funded by parishioners donations, researched the provision of Fair Trade products like coffee and liaised with the other parish groups such as UCM, Knights of St Columba, Legion of Mary, Friday Club, the Co Workers of Mother Teresa and ICYC, the Catholic Youth club.
Times changed and membership changed as did the frequency of collections. The small projects were no longer provided by CAFOD but WINGS continues to support the CAFOD emergency appeals, unfortunately still necessary to this day. Currently WINGS sends yearly donations to the work of the Salesians for the street children of Liberia (Fr Charles Chauvel), the Holy Family Children’s Home in Bethlehem (Canon Hetherington) . Wayaya (Marian and Tony Falla) and Friends of Katete (Peter and Margaret Keeling) have also received WINGS donations over the years. Both the Bamenda appeal and CAFOD Family Fast Days became independent of WINGS.
Today WINGS receives 3 second collections a year raising approximately £1800 a year. However, when Emergency Appeals are made the average of £600 rises to the £1000s. Over 50 years it is hard to put a figure on the contribution made by the Catholics of Guernsey through WINGS to the ‘alleviation of suffering’, especially allowing for the huge change in the value of money but it is well over £100,000 not allowing for inflation. So well done to our Catholic Community whose heart is always in the right place when appealing for those less fortunate than we are.
Thank you for your prayers and generosity.
Angela Le Page