Camberley, Bagshot and Cambodia – A Great Connection

Jess Michelmore is a member of CAFOD’s Asia and Middle East team who works on Connect2: Cambodia. She shared with us her experience of Connect2, Cambodia and Camberley and Bagshot.

Camberley and Bagshot Parish Supporteres with Jess Michelmore (right)

Camberley and Bagshot Parish Supporters with Jess Michelmore (right)

‘Hearing about Camberley and Bagshot’s amazing fundraising efforts for Connect2: Cambodia over the past year I was very excited to meet members of the Parish in person. Last December I was very pleased to receive a greetings card and photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish which I recently brought out to the Connect2 communities in Pouk district.

‘Community members in Pouk district were so happy to see what Connect:2 supporters look like and were so thankful for their generous support. I was keen to share some of the Connect:2 community members’ messages with the Parish which organised a Connect:2 Cambodia Parish fundraising supper.

Connect 2 Narrator Kahop (centre) with her husband Lot La and son enjoying looking at photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish.

Connect 2 Narrator Kahop (centre) with her husband Lot La and son enjoying looking at photos from Camberley and Bagshot Parish.

‘I was amazed to see all the hard work and effort that had gone into preparing the Connect 2 Cambodia fundraising supper at Camberley and Bagshot Parish. About 40 parishioners came to support Connect 2 Cambodia and find out more about my recent visit to the Connect 2 Communities. The parish had prepared a beautiful spread of Cambodian inspired dishes including delicious curries and rice.’

Jo Carroll, CAFOD’s parish volunteer and team leader who organised the evening with other members of the Parish explained “We are a great team in the Parish.

“Our Parish have been supporting the Connect 2 scheme over several years, first we followed Ethiopia, then El Salvador and now Cambodia. A few years ago, some partners from the Connect 2 project in El Salvador came to visit our Parish which was fantastic! We are excited to have someone with us tonight who has visited the communities in Cambodia,” said Dave Batt, CAFOD Parish volunteer.

‘After the wonderful supper,” Jess continues, “I gave a talk on our Connect 2 Cambodia project explaining how CAFOD works in partnership with our local Cambodian partner Srer Khmer and we looked back at some of the project’ successes and challenges over the past year. I shared a few words from the communities who also had questions for Connect 2 Parishes like Camberley and Bagshot.

‘Kahop (Connect 2 narrator in the photo above) asks, “How are you? What is your work? How do you keep yourself from poverty?”

‘A huge thank you to Camberley and Bagshot Parish for inviting me to speak at your parish and for your warm hospitality. Your compassion towards the Connect 2 Cambodia Community and interest to better understand people’s challenges and support them in overcoming some of these difficulties has really inspired me. Thank you once again for your generosity.

Jo, Parish Volunteer in Camberley and Bagshot (shown holding the poster in the top picture) said ‘Jess’ talk was so informative especially about the people, how the money has been spent and how CAFOD works with their partner, Srer Khmer.

‘So many people have told us how much they enjoyed the evening especially the talk.

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‘The total raised was £489 which included the raffle and some donations from people who were unable to attend. This makes the total raised so far this year nearly £1000.’

“What makes Connect 2 special,” said Fran, a parishioner and CAFOD supporter, “is about the connection made with real people. We want to know how our money is being spent and how it impacts real people’s lives”.

Our sincere thanks go to Camberley and Bagshot parish and volunteers for organising the event and for Jess for sharing her experience and passion for Cambodia.

If you’re in a Connect2:Cambodia parish and would like to send a message to Kahop and her community, please email Supporter Care at or post them to Romero House.

Connect2 is a system whereby parishes can connect to a community around the world.

Click on the link below for the latest update from Siem Reap which talks about Camberley and Bagshot’s fundraising efforts over the past year.

St Edmund’s Sweet Tooth


Mary (right) with willing helpers at the St Edmund's Cake sale

Mary (right) with willing helpers at the St Edmund’s Cake sale

Our thanks go to St Edmund’s Parish in Godalming for having a marvelous cake sale raising an amazing £310 split between CAFOD and the Kasanka parish served by the FMDM Sisters in Godalming.

All three Churches of the Parish had the chance of buying cake after the three Masses. People brought cakes to their usual Mass for sale and then any remaining cakes were taken to the next church and sold there. The remaining cakes were given to the Alpha group that was running in the parish.

David and Julian helping the cakes sell like, well, hot cakes.

David and Julian helping the cakes sell like, well, hot cakes.

£310 is an amazing amount from a cake sale, and CAFOD’s share – the £155 – will be doubled by the UK Government as part of our Lent Family Fast Day appeal, so we’ll be able to support more work to the value of £310.

Our thanks to the parish for their support and also plug their Share the Journey walk on Sunday the 8th of July starting at 2:30. The circular walk will start and end at St Joseph’s Church in Milford and take in the delightful surroundings. Everyone is welcome.

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