Dress a Dad Day at CAFOD A&B

I could get used to having a personal dresser, though his style is a little different to my own.

This morning, to raise awareness of and funds for our Family Fast Day appeal where your donation will be doubled by the UK Government until May 12th, I agreed to let my three year old boy decide what I am wearing today.

He was very happy to go about the task, a reversal of the usual, but I was a little concerned about what would be chosen, especially as my wife was on hand to help him. The CAFOD A&B Volunteer Centre, where I work, is in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh. There are standards to uphold and scandals to avoid.

I was also excited though. Left to myself, my choice of clothing can be a little uninteresting. Long ago I visited Bangladesh and was stunned by the bright and varied colours of clothing in the villages I visited. Perhaps today might bring some of that life into my style.

The items were laid out on the floor for me:

Black trousers

Black trousers – a safe choice

Trousers – fairly conservative and black. Safe.

A red 'Hawaiian' Shirt

Magnum would be proud

Shirt – Hawaiian and mostly red. Reminiscent of Tom Selleck’s moustachioed Private Investigator. Fantastic.

Tie – Initially a clash with the shirt but later changed by my son to be red (under no coercion from me). He wanted to keep hold of his first choice.

A white scarf

A white scarf – a bit lacey for me but let’s give it a go

White scarf – Quite pretty, quite feminine, not my usual style. They say life begins outside your comfort zone so here we go!

A Sea Captain's Cap

A Sea Captain’s Cap. Disclaimer: I am neither qualified nor employed in this regard.

Sea Captains Cap – an ill-matched item to top the outfit off, but perhaps it would give me a much-needed air of authority.

Mercifully I had a lift to work today so I didn’t have to face the awkward glances of fellow bus passengers. It was a full seminary though which was a good opportunity to remind people of our Family Fast Day appeal and mention that donations will be doubled by the UK Government until May the 12th!

People were welcoming of the break from the norm and there were many comments, smiles and a bit of laughter too. All the more awareness raised.

Mgr Gerry Ewing, Vice Rector of the Seminary, was particularly welcoming and happy to be photographed in my presence – photo below.

But really, what’s it all about? It’s a reminder, albeit a frivolous one, that we are raising funds for our work which supports people lifting themselves out of poverty.

To hear examples of the people you have helped and those who are still in need, please visit our Lent Fast Day Page. Please do consider making a donation which (did I mention?) will be doubled by the UK Government, making double the difference. This could mean more food for people suffering malnutrition, more clean water for those who struggle to access it, more healthcare, increased security, training and so many other things we can sometimes take for granted. If you’re able to make a donation please do visit the Fast Day page and support our work.

Mgr Gerry Ewing and Martin Brown

Mgr Gerry Ewing, Vice Rector of St John’s Seminary and Martin from CAFOD A&B. Hopefully you can tell which is which.

A Birthday Caterpillar

Luken, Martin’s stylist, also took the opportunity to dress up


Martin’s Son to Take Charge of his Style on Dress a Dad Day

Martin, CAFOD’s Coordinator in Arundel and Brighton Diocese shares his thoughts and reasons for allowing his three-year-old son to decide on his clothes for the day.

Martin's son rocking the seventies style in the snow

Martin’s son rocking the seventies style in the snow

‘I’ll admit that how I look isn’t the highest thing on my priority list most of the time. If I don’t look ridiculous or in some way offensive, I’m happy as long as I’m warm enough. But I’m taking a bit of a risk agreeing to be part of Dress a Dad day. My three-year old son will be in charge of what I wear all day. What’s even more risky is that I suspect my wife may give him a helping hand in too.

‘I’m hoping to raise some funds and a little awareness about our Family Fast Day appeal. This year people can make double the difference to our brothers and sisters living in poverty. Until May the 12th, donations to CAFOD will be doubled by the UK Government, up to a total of £5m. This is such a great opportunity to make a massive difference.

‘A few colleagues were dressed by their children a short while ago and I wanted to join in but my family was away on that day so Chris, my colleague in Brentwood Diocese, and I decided to hold our own on 23rd April to give people a bit of a giggle and encourage them to give a little to our Family Fast Day campaign.

‘I’ll be taking photos and will do another blog article and put a few things out on our Twitter account and our Facebook page. So do keep an eye out for those.

‘But most importantly, do consider donating to our appeal at our JustGiving page’

Marian stands with other members of Chinyama community veg garden with her two-month-old baby girl Talent. Zimbabwe

Marian stands with other members of Chinyama community veg garden with her two-month-old baby girl Talent. Zimbabwe. Marian’s community has been transformed by a community vegetable garden and other initiatives. It is hoped that our Family Fast Day appeal will be able to fund other similar transformations around the world.

Mayfield Walks in Solidarity with Refugees

Our first Diocesan Share the Journey walk, in solidarity with people on the move, took place on Sunday the 8th of April. Fourteen members of the St Thomas Of Canterbury parish in Mayfield did the ‘Mayfield Walk’ after Mass.

St Thomas of Canterbury Parish in Mayfield about to set off on their Share the Journey walk.

St Thomas of Canterbury Parish in Mayfield about to set off on their Share the Journey walk.

‘The whole event was lovely.’ said Christine Georgeson, parish volunteer. ‘We said the Share the Journey prayer to begin the walk and talked about the issues the campaign is focusing on.

A nice picnic to finish off the walk

A nice picnic to finish off the walk

‘It started off raining a little but it soon stopped. We’re a small parish so easy to get to know each other and everyone said how much they enjoyed it. We finished with a lovely picnic and everyone got their campaign cards.’

Inspired by Pope Francis’ special concern for people on the move, with the Share the Journey campaign we are urging Britain to play a leading role in the forthcoming global compacts on migration and refugees. We are asking Prime Minister, Theresa May, and other world leaders to develop a united, global response which:

  • respects human dignityShare the Journey Logo
  • protects the vulnerable
  • supports host countries
  • keeps families together
  • tackles the reasons why people migrate

We are hoping to walk around the world with such walks. The world is 24,900 miles in circumference and we need your help. The fourteen people (not counting the dogs) in Mayfield walked a total of 56 miles. How many could you and your parish walk? Click to see our on-line totaliser to see how we’re doing so far.

Walks like this will be happening across the diocese and across England and Wales in solidarity with people on the move. Would you be able to organise one? See our website for more information on the campaign and how to organise a similar walk.

Our thanks go to Christine, the walkers and the St Thomas of Canterbury Parish in Mayfield for organising the walk and sending us lovely pictures of it.

The Mayfield group mid-walk

The Mayfield group mid-walk