Two young Catholic brothers organise garden fete to raise money for the Pakistan disaster appeal

Two resourceful young Catholic brothers used their initiative to raise money for the Pakistan disaster appeal, after reading of the plight of flood victims in a children’s newspaper.

Joseph Watchorn, nine, read about the floods in Pakistan in the newspaper First News. Then he and his brother Matthew, seven, had the idea of selling their old toys to raise money for the appeal.

On September 12 Joseph and Matthew put on a fete in the front garden of the family home in Beckenham, Kent. They sold cakes and toys and organised a tombola and other party games with help from friends, cousins and adults.

Joseph said: “The pictures we saw of the floods [in Pakistan] during the summer holidays made us want to do something to help people who have lost their homes.

“At the fete we had a toy stall, tombola, a raffle, a book stall, drinks and cakes, name-the-bear, win-a-football and a loo roll challenge. Everyone loved the loo roll game, you had to throw loo rolls into a toilet to win a prize.”

Joseph’s mother, Susie Watchorn, baked sponge cakes with other mothers from the school and provided refreshments. The children’s grandmother came from Lincolnshire bringing items for the sale. Their father, Hugh, also helped.

The most popular game was the loo roll challenge, Mrs Watchorn said. “Plumb Centre in Forest Hill kindly lent us a toilet,” she explained. “And the children paid 20 pence a go to try and throw toilet rolls into it.”

Mrs Watchorn said that when her children first proposed the fete she had reservations.

“I have to admit, I thought: this is going to involve a lot of work,” she said. “But we have decided we are going to do something every year.” Her family were “just practical Catholics” and not “do-gooders”, she added. But the boys were inspired by their Catholic faith and their school to help those less fortunate.

“We nudge them to think about other people and so does the school,” Mrs Watchorn said. “In their evening prayers they always say a prayer for those who are in need of help.”

Matthew and Joseph are pupils of St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School and attend St Edmund’s in Beckenham. They raised more than £700 through their efforts and the generosity of neighbours. They gave the money to the Cafod appeal.