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WI and the Mercy Ships

This article was published in October 2006. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Womens InstituteGuest speaker at the Eaton Bray WI October meeting was Anne Giles who is a volunteer on "Mercy Ships" that sail along the west coast of Africa, assisting very poor countries with medical help and other skills to improve the quality of life for the citizens.

Ms Giles took along slides of her trip to Liberia and explained that Mercy Ships only sail in to a port at the invitation of the country's goverment whose only obligation is to agree to provide free moorings, water and the removal of rubbish.

Mercy Ships are a Christian organisation whose crew is interdenominational and has nationals from 40 different countries, all are volunteers and the spoken language is English.

The volunteers work alongside the village elders in helping to set up schools and sanitation projects in areas that have often been devastated by years of civil wat.

Ms Giles is a trained nurse and her husband works as a surgeon at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, both took early retirement to join the Mercy Ships and spend around six months each year around the coast of west Africa.

Eaton Bray WI has a lively autumn programme with several social events starting with the annual Halloween evening in mid October.

A vote was taken to buy and lay a poppy wreath at the Eaton Bray War memorial in November and the Christmas charity project is to support the work of the Mercy Ships by donating toiletries and stationary items for Ms Giles to take on her next trip to Africa.

The group's next meeting is on November 6 at 7.30pm in Eaton Bray Village Hall. Friends and new members are always welcome.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 17 October 2006