Parish Volunteer Coordinator for Milton Keynes does amazing work

CAFOD works through amazing volunteers who give their time and talent to promote CAFOD’s work in their parishes, schools and beyond.  One such volunteer is Maggie Osgathorp who has been a CAFOD volunteer for over 25 years.  Maggie was presented with a papal blessing in 2018 for the wonderful work she has done over the years in her parish.  Through coffee mornings, quizzes, table top sales etc.. she has managed encourage her parish to support CAFOD’s work and they have been fantastic.

Maggie’s “one pound shop”

Maggie Osgathorp with her Papal Blessing

Since receiving her papal blessing, Maggie has upped her game, wanting to do more to promote CAFOD’s work.. even beyond the boundaries of her parish.  Seeing her keenness and talent, CAFOD coordinator Deborah Purfield asked if she would be interested in taking on the role of parish volunteer coordinator for Milton Keynes pastoral area.  It didn’t take Maggie long to reflect on and agree to it.

Maggie appealing for  volunteers

Maggie has then been on a mission to recruit volunteers for all the parishes where there were none.  She got in touch with the parish priests to see if she could give talks and ask for people to be part of CAFOD’s vision.  All her efforts were not in vain.  We now have volunteers in every parish in the Milton Keynes deanery.  Maggie didn’t stop there, she got in touch with all the volunteers, new and those existing, to introduce herself.  She is now supporting them with Deborah’s help.

Thank you so much Maggie.  You are really amazing to have done all you have – to use your skills and talents to encourage and support others to put their faith into action.


> Would you like to volunteer with CAFOD?  Do get in touch or see our website for more details about volunteering in your parish.


Agnes Milne receives blessing from the Pope after over 25 years of volunteering

Agnes Milne presented with a Papal Blessing for more than 25 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Long term CAFOD volunteer Agnes Milne received a Papal Blessing last Sunday 10 February in recognition of her contribution to CAFOD, championing the rights of some of the poorest communities across the world through campaigning and fundraising. The blessing certificate was presented to her by Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Eamon Devlin (parish priest), at St Mary’s parish Dunstable.

Fr Eamon reads out the papal blessing

Agnes’ Papal Blessing

Agnes (84) has volunteered for CAFOD for over 25 years. During that time she has not only helped raise thousands of pounds but has been an MP correspondent and campaigner for CAFOD, focusing on many issues, including Third World Debt, Fairtrade, and Climate Change.

Debbie said, “I am so honoured to be here on behalf of CAFOD to thank the parish and particularly Agnes for all her years of volunteering for CAFOD.” Agnes exclaimed “I was so surprised and overwhelmed to get this blessing” adding that she felt she needed the blessing, having lost her husband, Andrew, seven months ago. Agnes dates her passion to fighting poverty back to the early 60s when she spent three years teaching in Uganda. This was at about the same time as CAFOD was founded and she has always been a supporter.

Supporters want Sainsbury’s to ditch its ‘Fairly traded’ tea

Agnes has organised petitions, displays, walks, talks and church services. She works with Christians from other churches and once got a group of people, as part of a campaign, to talk to all the jewellers in Dunstable about where their gold came from, to ensure that it was ethically mined and that the miners got a fair deal. More recently she was involved in asking Sainsbury’s not to ditch the Fairtrade mark on their own-brand tea and in organising walks within the pastoral area, in support of the refugee campaign “Share the Journey

Her husband, Andrew, joined in with Share the Journey by walking in the hospital ward during his last illness. He was thrilled to hear about the papal blessing and together with Debbie and the parish, started organising the day for Agnes. Sadly he was taken ill and couldn’t see it through. However, we know that Andrew was very much with Agnes when she received it.

Presenting the Papal Blessing to Agnes Milne

Debbie said gleefully, “together with current parish volunteer Justin Redmond, we had planned with Fr that I would be invited to say a few words before the end of mass.  I saw a very perplexed look on Agnes’ face initially.  This broke into a surprised, embarrassed and then an overwhelmed look!”  The certificate of Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis was presented to Agnes by Fr Eamon and there was a standing ovation.

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This was followed by a small celebration after the mass where the Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) did the refreshments and a beautifully decorated and yummy cake was given to Agnes. The Knights of St Columba presented Agnes with flowers and many people expressed their love and admiration for Agnes, and for her late husband.

Debbie added “Agnes, you are such an inspiration. You use every opportunity you can to raise awareness of the causes of poverty and always encourage others to add their voices with yours against injustices. You not only talk the talk but walk the walk. You are an amazing volunteer!  Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do.”

Agnes Milne with daughter Louise

Some of Agnes’ five children and eleven grandchildren were there to see her receive the award. Her youngest daughter, Louise, said “we are incredibly proud of mum. She always keeps in mind the less privileged, here in Dunstable and around the world, especially in Africa. She is always thinking about what else she can do to help and how she can get other people involved too. We just wish our dad could have been with us today to see this too”

To find out more about CAFOD and campaigning, visit:


Celebrating the Life of one of our wonderful volunteers – Maureen Borbone

We have just heard the sad news of the passing of Maureen Borbone on 11 November 2018 – one of our long standing volunteers from Holy Family and St John in Luton.

Maureen Borbone had been an amazing voice for Justice and Peace (J&P) for many years and a wonderful CAFOD supporter.  She also was heavily involved locally with Grassroots.  In September 2017 she was presented with a papal blessing from CAFOD for over 30 years of volunteering!

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

When she found out towards the end of 2017 that her time on earth was shortened, she was determined to use what time was left to her to help and support others. She did so till the very end.

Those who knew Maureen would say she was always looking outwards – to see how she could make a difference to the lives of those living in poverty and with injustice. She was a wonderful evangelist of the Gospel!

Maureen keen to get all to support Fairtrade

She was also a great supporter of Fairtrade (FT) and always encouraged people to do likewise. Together with the J&P group at Holy Family and St John’s – Luton, she held many fundraising events to raise not only money but awareness of the reasons why people were suffering.  She got involved in many CAFOD campaigns and attended numerous supporters’ days in the diocese where she also promoted FT by setting up a stall.

Maureen Borbone at her last CAFOD supporters’ event in Luton Feb 2017

She will be greatly missed but we celebrate her life – a life of selflessness and giving, a life of speaking out in the face of injustice and putting her faith into action.

She will continue to be an inspiration to many who knew her and her work will continue.  Please keep Maureen and her family in prayer.

Maureen’s funeral will be held on Monday 26 November, 11am at St John the Apostle church, 296 Sundon Park Road, Luton LU3 3AL. May she rest in peace.