Celebrating 25 years of “quiet” volunteering

To help tackle poverty and injustice in our world, CAFOD relies on volunteers in England and Wales who, inspired by their faith, put it into action and pray, fundraise and campaign to bring about change.

Maggie Osgathorpe with her Papal Blessing

One such volunteer is Maggie Osgathorp from All Saints parish in Bletchley who has been a parish volunteer with CAFOD for 25 years!  Congratulations Maggie!

In all that time, Maggie has been involved with many CAFOD campaigns and fundraising events.  Apart from the two fast days, Maggie organises other fundraising events in the parish.

Maggie and her “one pound shop” – CAFOD fundraiser

Together with a team she holds monthly coffee mornings in the parish after mass and has a “one pound shop” when she has accumulated enough of “unwanted” items from parishioners to sell.  These have raised amazing amounts for CAFOD.  The latest “one pound shop” brought in over £80!  She also organises quiz nights which raises a lot of money for CAFOD and which is enjoyed by all who attend.

When asked what kind of person Maggie is, most would say she is “so quiet and gentle, not liking to be in the limelight.  She is always seen doing something in the parish to raise awareness”.

Maggie not quite taking in that she was being thanked

Fr Chris presents Maggie with the Papal Blessing

So, when unbeknown to Maggie, Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Chris (parish priest), presented Maggie with a Papal blessing of thanks at the end of Sunday mass, she was so surprised and overcome.  The big applaud which followed left Maggie speechless!

Debbie and Fr Chris presenting Maggie with a Papal Blessing for 25 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Fr Chris said, “you have put on so many coffee mornings and today, you can enjoy others putting it on.”  Many parishioners came forward to congratulate Maggie as well, to show how much they valued what she had done.

The following day Maggie was still taking it all in and said, “Thank you all so much for the Papal Blessing..  I am still so overwhelmed”.

Thank you so much Maggie for your years of support.  In your gentle and quiet way, you have been a massive inspiration to all around you and a wonderful sign of how to put faith into action!  You have helped transform the lives of many!

If you would like to be a parish volunteer or get involved in CAFOD’s work, do get in touch Northampton@cafod.org.uk or call 01844 274 723.


A celebration of a pillar of CAFOD

We can all agree that CAFOD does a pretty amazing job, empowering individuals and communities in some of the most deprived areas of the world. Yet, none of this could be achieved without the crucial work of our volunteers.  YOU are our backbone, helping us in many different ways to share our stories, give your voices and pray to fight poverty and injustice in our world where there is great need. CAFOD volunteers make a tremendous difference and are truly inspiring people!


Pat Taylor with Fr Evaristus Bassey (Director of Cartias Nigeria), Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Joseph Udoh (parish priest)

One such volunteer is Pat Taylor, from the Parish of John Henry Newman in High Wycombe. She has been a Parish volunteer for almost 30 years and at the age of 84 is still going strong!  We shared her remarkable story in a previous posting.  On 13 April, her long-standing commitment to CAFOD – 25 years – was recognised and celebrated at a special Mass in the Parish.

Pat Taylor with her family who came to celebrate with her

The parish were very keen to support Pat and to show her how loved and appreciated she was.  Attending this very joyful celebration was Pat’s family, who came from far and wide just for the occasion, as well as parishioners from nearby parishes who knew Pat and have been touched by her unceasing enthusiasm over the years.

Preparations started early with everyone bringing something to share and getting the place ready.  The mass was a wonderful way of giving thanks for Pat’s work.  We were blessed to have con-celebrating the mass Fr Evaristus Bassey, Director of Caritas Nigeria, who happened to be visiting the UK.  Fr Evaristus gave a moving first-hand account of CAFOD’s practical and effective impact on the ground and urged all to “continue supporting this vital work which really empowers people”.

Pat Taylor presented with a Papal Blessing

At the sharing after the mass, Debbie Purfiled (our diocesan CAFOD coordinator) gave a summary of Pat’s involvement with CAFOD and mentioned how Pat not only “talked the talk but walked the walk”.  Debbie added, “Pat always did her best to make parishioners and students aware of the plight of those living in poverty and injustice.  Putting her faith into action is that which has inspired and encouraged others these 25 years.  On behalf of CAFOD and all those you have touched, thank you so so much.”  To show CAFOD’s appreciation, Debbie presented Pat with a Papal Blessing.

Pat thanks those present at her celebration


Pat too was keen to thank everyone and share her experience of being a CAFOD volunteer and how she enjoyed it thoroughly.




It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves and Elizabeth Dinnage, one of the organisers together with Catri Plummer, said:  “It was a very happy occasion, which Pat enjoyed very much.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was so much food left over as people were so generous in bringing food to share.  Elizabeth came up with a very innovative idea, “You are very welcome to take the left overs home and a donation will be welcomed”.  What did they received?  Nearly £83 and with the UK government doubling all donations till 12 May, this event not only celebrated Pat’s wonderful work over the years but raised £165 for CAFOD’s work!  Absolutely wonderful!!

Thank you to Pat, her family and all those who prepared and supported the event.  It was a really great day!

Inspired by Pat’s story? Find out more about volunteering opportunities with CAFOD,  contact us at northampton@cafod.org.uk, or call us on 01844 274 723


Celebrating our long-standing volunteer Maureen Borbone

CAFOD was delighted to be able to celebrate with Maureen Borbone for her services as a volunteer for over 30 years! We had a special Papal blessing and Bishop Peter wrote a lovely thank you letter from the diocese.

Deborah presenting the Papal Blessing to Maureen

As Maureen hasn’t been well, Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator Northampton) arranged for these to be presented to Maureen in her home saying, “Maureen doesn’t like a fuss at the best of times and I feel going over to her home with a few people would be better”.

Maureen has done lots not only in her parish of Holy Family and St John’s Luton, but around Luton and so it was wonderful that her friends and family were present to celebrate her years of devotion and support.  We had representatives from the parish, from Grassroots in Luton where she is heavily involved in, fellow volunteers as well as her sister, Bernadette.

Maureen Borbone delighted with her Papal Blessing for over 30 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Maureen has been promoting Fast Days at Holy Family and St John’s Luton for many years.  She started the “Bag of blessings” for Lent where people were handed bags at the start and Maureen collected their offerings at the end of the Lenten period which has gone to help further CAFOD’s work.  She was also a main instigator in organising the parish soup lunches which have drawn in lots of people from the parish and beyond.  These have raised a considerable amount for CAFOD over the years!

Not only has Maureen attended numerous CAFOD supporters’ days but has gone the extra mile to encourage others to come along with her by offering them lifts. On several occasions, she has also packed her car with Fairtrade goods to set up a stall at the event.

Maureen keen to get all to support Fairtrade

Being a very keen Fairtrade supporter, you can always see her using every opportunity to encourage people to support it.  For example, when we went to present her with her papal blessing, she was very keen to have us sign her petition to Sainsbury’s to ask them to move back to selling Fairtrade tea which they have moved away from.


>> Find out more and Sign the petition to Sainsbury’s

Maureen has also been a voice for the voiceless and has supported numerous CAFOD campaigns over the years.  She has raised awareness of the plight of those living with injustice and is a wonderful evangelist of the Gospel.

Sr Maire presented Maureen with a letter of thanks from Bishop Peter Doyle and which Maureen read out to all present.  She was moved to tears at its content.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We thank God for you Maureen and for all you have done in your quiet yet very effective way over the years.  As Bishop Peter said in his letter, “ without people like you, the root causes of poverty cannot be tackled.. (we) want to thank you for all the years you have stood on the side of those living in poverty and for your great service to the Lord and His Church.  You are a wonderful example and witness to our Catholic faith in action and a great inspiration.”

>> Find out how you can volunteer for CAFOD