Local lady spreads cheer in Romania

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WENDY and John Sparrow are a St Cyrus Couple who devote their time and energy towards boosting the charity North East Scotland Support for Romania.

Mrs Sparrow has recently returned from the country, where she was able to examine at first hand work accomplished, and work still to be done.

She described to us the conditions she found there, for example the house where the group she was with handed over gifts to a daughter in a family of 12, who had taken the mother’s place after she died in childbirth of a 13th child.

They visited a homeless shelter but did not intend to give aid as the same night they were expecting donations from another party. A group of four Germans came in with a box of aid - gloves.

The governor was disappointed at the meagre amount of aid they had left so food bags were produced with the promise that further aid would be delivered. Mrs Sparrow cut up about 20 loaves of bread into ‘doorsteps’ to soak up the watery stew served on metal soup plates which they washed when returned empty.

She visited a family she had met before and nine of the 16 children sang happy birthday in English and Romanian to one of the visiting group, followed by ‘Silent Night’, accompanied by one of the girls on a guitar.

They went on to visit more families giving them food, clothes, toys, bedding and shoe boxes.

Mrs Sparrow continued: “An old diabetic man I saw three years ago whom I had given up for dead was still alive in appalling conditions. We left him a nice diabetic-friendly food parcel, clothes and much needed bedding.”

Next day they visited a maternity unit and the Estera Foundation for antenatal/postnatal mums. Mrs Sparrow went on: “Several mums with their babies came to meet us and a little girl with a beautiful voice sang. We saw the store where they packed parcels of clothes and bedding which was in such a messy state. There was also a store of prams, buggies, baths and cots of all shapes and sizes.”

She has now had time to reflect on her third visit to Romania, where she now feels quite at home. She went on: “I was pleased to see some improvements, especially some of the roads were now tarmac and not muddy tracks. There appeared to be more presentable shops, not dingy sheds, and brick built houses with electric being lived in. Much more English spoken now taught in secondary schools and on billboards.”

But in 2009 New Hope Trust withdrew aid to Romania to concentrate on aid to Moldova where they have given support for many years and are doing marvellous, much-needed work.

Mrs Sparrow continued: “We have experienced conditions in Romania, and decided to leave New Hope Trust and help North East Scotland Support in Romania, a charity set up in Turriff under the direction of Caroline Alexandra who has an excellent team who fund-raise, collect aid and distribute it to Romania three times a year.

“We will not be holding regular fund raising in St Cyrus but hope to have a baking stall and raffle at the Gala. We are still collecting aid, knitted goods and donations to raise funds to buy bargains when available and complete the family boxes much appreciated by the Romanian families.

“We still need your support for this project and we are sure we can rely on your help which is so much appreciated in Romania.”