30 years of baking by a Woking parishioner raises over £35,000 for CAFOD

Elizabeth Wallace, a parishioner from St. Dunstan’s, Woking, has baked cakes for CAFOD every month for over 30 years, raising an estimated £35,000 – an incredible sum!

Elizabeth’s baking odyssey began back in 1986.  Her mother had died two years previously and the terrible Ethiopian famine of 1984 was still fresh in her mind.  One of Elizabeth’s friend’s suggested that she did something to help both her recover from the loss of her mother, and those in need overseas.  “I can cook and I like to bake, so that’s how it all began!”

Elizabeth set up a cake stall after mass once a month, at the parish of Our Lady of Christ, Kingfield, which she and her husband of 45 years, Kevin, were members of.  As well as selling cakes contributed by parishioners, they held sponge competitions and Elizabeth stayed motivated by the enthusiasm of other parishioners.

Elizabeth Wallace at St. Dunstan's

Elizabeth said:

“The Bake Off hadn’t even started then – Mary Berry eat your heart out!  One of the reasons I kept going was that it made other people join in, and there have been some amazing examples of generosity.  There was one lady who died a couple of years ago who donated £20 every month!”

When they moved to St. Dunstan’s, Woking, Elizabeth kept on baking; her commitment to standing in solidarity with those in the developing world has never failed.

“You don’t stop,” Elizabeth said.  “The world is still in need and we can’t just be reactive to big crises, we have to take the initiative too.  And you can’t just walk away, because you feel you’re betraying the people you’re supporting.  These aren’t just people on pieces of paper, these are people who you’re praying for.”

After almost thirty years as the organiser of the CAFOD cake stall, Mary handed over the running to two other St Dunstan’s parishioners, Ruth Whiddett and Lin Mason, in 2014.  Elizabeth described the choice to stand down as a hard decision to make, but one which felt right.  Inspired by her American mother’s recipes, Elizabeth still bakes delights such as cookies every month for the stall, adding to the mounds of freshly baked bread, homegrown fruit and delicious homemade cakes.

“The girls took over and run the stall with their children and it’s going really well.  It’s gone from strength to strength and they make wonderful cupcakes!  It’s very popular and we regularly run out of what we’re selling!”

Elizabeth, Ruth, Agata and Lin

Elizabeth, Ruth, Agata and Lin

Elizabeth has now been baking cakes every month for CAFOD for 31 years.  Since its inception in 1986 it has raised an estimated £35,000 – a phenomenal sum.

Elizabeth is modest about the amount that she and the others who helped at the stall have made.  “We’re just normal people and that’s our strength,” she said.

The money raised by Elizabeth and all those involved in the stall helps those living in extreme poverty to reach their full potential, regardless of religion or culture, by equipping them with the skills and opportunities to live with dignity, support their families and give something back to their communities.

Here in CAFOD’s Arundel & Brighton office, we’re inspired by Elizabeth’s dedication to CAFOD.  Her commitment to helping those in need is remarkable, especially as it so much more than skin deep – she truly cares about the people she is helping as individuals, not just statistics.  We are so thankful to her and all those who have been involved in the cake stall over the years, including the new organisers Ruth, Lin and Agata.  Thanks, Elizabeth!

Volunteers since 1978. Meet area co-coordinators Kevin and Linda Dignum.

Kevin and Linda are the area coordinators for St Leonards Deanery and have been supporting CAFOD since June 1978!  Here they explain why they support CAFOD through volunteering and what their role entails.

“As life-long Catholics we both have concerns about some aspects of the Church’s

Kevin and Linda

Kevin and Linda Dignum

teaching, but one that we feel a real commitment to is Catholic Social Teaching.   CAFOD is the “Jewel in the Crown” of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and seems the ideal way in which to make a small contribution to justice issues.”

In their role as area coordinators they keep in contact with the parish volunteers in the different churches in the deanery through phone calls and emails. They organise two meetings a year for these parish volunteers before Lent and Harvest fast days so that they can ensure that everyone has background knowledge of the fast day focus country and is confident to run the appeal in their parish, and the meetings also gives parish volunteers a chance to share ideas and support each other.

Many thanks to Linda and Kevin for all you have done for CAFOD over years!

If you feel inspired by the tireless work of Kevin and Linda, then why not become a CAFOD volunteer today?  

Do you want to use your creative skills to promote CAFOD and the work of our volunteers?

Do you enjoy writing?  Do you want to learn more about social media?  Do you want to use your skills to make a difference?

If so, and if you have the time and enthusiasm to work with us here at CAFOD Arundel and Brighton as a communications volunteer, then please come along to our Media Training workshop.

When?: 20th February, 10am – 2pm

Where?: St. Andrews, Amigo Hall, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HR

What?: We will be covering all aspects of communications to give you the skills and confidence to let the world know what CAFOD is doing in your diocese.  This will include sessions on:

  • What makes a good story
  • How to write a CAFOD blog
  • Facebook and Twitter – what they do and how to use them

All experience levels are very welcome.  We will be doing practical sessions too, to ensure that you leave with the skill set necessary to start promoting the amazing work of CAFOD and its supporters.

If you’d like to come along, or have any questions regarding the training or what it means to be a communications volunteer, please contact Marine Harrington at mharrington@cafod.org.uk, or ring our colleagues in the volunteer office in Southwark on 0208 466 9901.

We look forward to seeing you shortly!