It all started with, “Why not?”

Meg, a CAFOD Media Volunteer, shares the story of the newest CAFOD coordinator, Andy Wansbury. Here she tells us how Andy began his journey as a volunteer.

“I used to be a forensic photographer,” Andy recalls. He had been in the Forensic


A group photo from Lent Fast Day 2016–when it all started for Andy

Science Service for 12 years until 2011. Since then he had been at home, caring for his daughter. And then CAFOD reached out to him. “Eileen Hayes from CAFOD came to speak at the Lent Fast Day 2016 in my parish and asked for volunteers. I thought it was a call for me as I had always been interested in CAFOD work,” he says. He had always wanted to be a parish speaker, so when they finally asked him to be a part of the family, he just thought, “Why not?”

Why volunteer?

Andy began his CAFOD journey by giving talks in school. “Last September, there was a private school in Lewisham who needed a volunteer. I underwent training in the summer,” Andy explains. The training would occur twice a year, for a full day. “And soon I was giving talks for about 20 minutes in schools and parishes, about what CAFOD does and what we are all about.” There are also various volunteering opportunities for other aspiring volunteers who would like to do something else.

Andy had recently become the new volunteer campaign Co-ordinator for the deaneries of Bexley, Greenwich, Gravesend, Bromley and Lewisham. I thought, “My, what huge responsibility this is!” it all seemed so overwhelming. But he patiently explained that his role is mostly to act as a support person. Whenever there is a campaign, he is there to extend a hand if needed, but not necessarily having to be directly involved. “I am still getting the grips of it, ” he admits.  His latest assignment is trying to help with the committee appeal for East Africa. He is also hoping to recruit motivated volunteers to promote CAFOD campaigns in parishes.


Andy sporting his signature look

Because of his new role, Andy is every where CAFOD takes him. He would show up in his Harley-Davidson, wearing black leather boots, navy trousers, and of course, a CAFOD shirt. He believes in making a first impression, and quite an impression at that. “It makes people remember you. And when they remember you they remember what you say, and the message you’d like to imprint on them.”


Discover the latest campaigns here

Many thanks, Andy, for all your fantastic work so far!

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Why I volunteer for CAFOD and my son

Kathleen Szczegolski, 66, from London, has supported Catholic charity, CAFOD for many years and decided after retiring to begin volunteering in CAFOD’s Southwark Office. Here Kathy talks about her motivations and her late son, Robbie Sharp.

Volunteering in the Diocese of Southwark with CAFOD

Kathy enjoying her volunteering in the CAFOD Southwark office

In a quiet moment at CAFOD today, I thought I would start my long-awaited contribution to the CAFOD volunteer blog:

“I remember seeing the advert in my parish newsletter, the bright green logo stood out and I thought I could use my former secretarial skills to assist CAFOD, having worked in administration most of my life. I lost my only son, Robbie Sharp, in 2009, who lived with cerebral palsy from birth. Robbie needed lots of love, care and attention, which he was never short of. I was so grateful to all the volunteers who had helped Robbie, a few years later I wanted to put something back into the community.
Find out about CAFOD’s candlelight fund 

“Robbie was a remarkable, loving and very special young man, whose smile, humour and love of life were rays of sunshine in the world for everyone lucky enough to know him.

“Robbie was a remarkable, loving and very special young man whose smile, sense of humour and love of life were rays of sunshine in the world for everyone lucky enough to know him. He is with the angels now and will never be forgotten. RIP Robbie.

Robbie’s candlelight fund 

campaign, protest, advocacy, CAFOD, CAFOD southwark

Kathleen with her Justice and Peace Group

“A couple of years after Robbie died, a CAFOD speaker came to St William of York to talk about the Candlelight Fund. I felt this was an amazing idea and I opened a fund in Robbie’s name. Robbie was a wonderful young man and it is a great comfort to me to see that his memory is living on and he would be very happy to know that he is helping people around the world. There are also annual Candlelight Masses around the country and I have attended one locally which was very memorable. Robbie’s candlelight fund has raised over £4,000 now.


Find out about CAFOD’s candlelight fund 


Kathy enjoying her volunteering in the CAFOD Southwark office

“My faith and prayer life are strong, and I have always enjoyed going on retreats, mainly to the Benedictine Monastery at Worth, I felt that as well as my own spiritual well being, I wanted to act out my faith through volunteering.

“It began a great friendship with myself and CAFOD.  I volunteer one day a week and have met some wonderful people and enjoy my days volunteering every day is different. The staff have always been very friendly and not at all intimidating and I have always been thanked profusely for my work; I feel it is my pleasure.  We have enjoyed other fundraising and campaigning events.”

Become an office volunteer 

Sadness and Celebration as Mairi Lutri’s funeral will be held on Wednesday 31 August.

This week in CAFOD Southwark our hearts and prayers are very much with Mairi Lutri’s family. Mairi Lutri from the parish of St William of York in Forest Hill very sadly and suddenly passed away on the 8th of August. Today in this blog we would like to celebrate her life and all her good work to try to put an end to poverty. 

Mairi was a person of great commitment and strength and she was fully dedicated to
CAFOD‘s work as we can see in the attached picture where Mairi is holding a bunting from Saint William of York children’s liturgy groups during the mass lobby of parliament

Mairi Lutri (002)

Mairi Lutri in June 2015 during CAFOD mass lobby of parliament.

regarding climate change last June 2015.  Margaret Cooper, a member of the Justice and Peace group in St William of York, has kindly agreed to share with us: “….A few words about my dear friend Mairi who died suddenly on the 8th August, on arriving in Sicily with her husband Giovanni. She was a very kind, generous and thoughtful person. She and Gio loved to entertain their family, friends, neighbours and, one Christmas, two refugees joined them for dinner. I met Mairi when we both joined the St. William of York Justice and Peace Group about 30yrs ago. During that time we took part in a great many CAFOD marches to raise awareness of issues such as poverty, famine, slavery and climate change. The last one was early this year “CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME” on climate change and the need for action to slow it down. We also handed out numerous postcards on behalf of various CAFOD campaigns outside our church.  Mairi certainly was a “DOER”, she enjoyed sharing whatever she had, including time, care and food with those in need. Her family and many friends will miss her very much and remember her fondly in the future.”

At CAFOD today we are sad and at the same time so grateful for the wonderful work Mairi has achieved to make an end to poverty. For all this amazing commitment Thank you. Mairi’s funeral will be taking place at St William of York in Forest Hill on Wednesday 31 August at 2.30pm.

Like every year we will be holding a Memorial Mass in November for Mairi and all other CAFOD volunteers in Southwark who have passed away and for anyone in Southwark  holding a candle light fund. Memorial Masses are a great way for CAFOD to give something back to our supporters. Over the years we have been blessed with wonderful, generous and loyal friends, and we take this opportunity each year to give thanks for those who are no longer with us, and to offer our prayers for them. Get in touch with us if you wish to know more 0208 466 9901.