Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Romania aid is promised

By Ben Perrin

In the isolated rural districts of Romania there are still people who live in abject poverty, with no running water and no proper healthcare.

But a Swindon charity is doing its bit to change all that.

Reach Romania has been lending a helping hand to a Bible school in Suceava, in the northern part of the country, for the last 10 years.

A small team has been travelling to Romania every year during that time and deliver aid and medicine.

Now an auction of promises is to be held next month by Highworth Methodist Church on behalf of the charity.

And everything from an evening of babysitting and a one-hour ironing session to a full body massage and a meal for two is up for grabs, if your bid is successful.

The money raised, which is expected to be more than £500, will go towards new clothes, food parcels, medicine, and a hip replacement operation for Marcel Lelcu, who is the vice-principal at the Bible College in Suceava.

Dr Stephen Brooke, of Victoria Cross Surgery, in Victoria Road, has been part of Reach Romania from the beginning.

He said: "I have been travelling over there for the last 10 years.

"We set up medical clinics in local churches or set up tents so people can come and obtain free medication such as basic vitamins and minerals.

"We offer painkillers, antibiotics and take their blood pressure.

"The money we raise for this auction will go towards clothes and medicine for the people."

The doctor, who lives in Stratton, added: "It is important Marcel gets his hip operation as there are no lifts in the school so, if he is wheelchair-bound, he will not be able to work properly.

"It would cost £2,000 for this to be done in Romania."

Suceava Bible School has classes three evenings a week with chapel on Tuesday nights and helps provide a place for local people to learn.

GWH nurse Helen Noyce, 49, from Highworth, said: "It is important we don't just treat this as a one-off thing, we must support the charity all year round.

"We go with the Romanian aid workers to people's homes to see the aid being delivered."

The chief organiser of the auction, Val Goodwin, 62, from Nythe, said: "While at the medical centres we like to take our musical instruments and play to the people waiting to be seen by the medical team.

"I play my guitar and Val plays her violin.

"The Romanians seem fascinated by it, especially the children, as they have probably never heard music before."

The auction, hosted by Paul Holloway, of Promises, will take place at Highworth Methodist Church on Saturday, June 9 at 7.30pm. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

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