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Catholic women back heroes

Catholic Women’s League of England and Wales raise £81,000 for the charity Help for Heroes

By on Friday, 12 November 2010

The Ripon canteen or ‘hut’ for service personnel, known as the English mother hut

The Ripon canteen or ‘hut’ for service personnel, known as the English mother hut

For the past 12 months members of the Catholic Women’s League of England and Wales have been raising funds for the National President’s Project.

A year ago members listened to a talk from David Gammell of Help for Heroes and naval chaplain Mgr Paul Donovan, who has served in Afghanistan, on the work of the charity. This inspired them to encourage friends, families and parishioners to raise as much money as they could for this worthwhile cause.

The result is a total sum of £81,210.73, which was presented to Help for Heroes at the League national AGM in Southport on Saturday October 23.

Helping servicemen and women and victims of war is well established practice in the Catholic Women’s League. In fact, some members have worn uniform in the two World Wars, forming the Corps of the Catholic Women’s League under the auspices of the Council for Voluntary Welfare Work. During World War I members helped Belgian refugees in particular, supported by their common faith. The League opened canteens (referred to as huts) for service personnel with the first one in Boulogne in northern France, followed by others in both France and England.

Spiritual welfare was provided by the members as well as food and leisure facilities. At the end of World War I in 1918 the League tried to support some of the ruined villages and churches in Europe. The huts were donated to local communities to be used as Mass centres in bombed-out areas. Vestments and altar items were provided for use in churches which were still standing.