Kennington fundraisers look for their next good cause to support

From left, Sylvia Vetta, chairwoman Halcyon Leonard and Clive Rodgers

From left, Sylvia Vetta, chairwoman Halcyon Leonard and Clive Rodgers

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A FUNDRAISING group is hoping for another successful year as it looks for the next cause to help out.

Last year Kennington Overseas Aid (KOA) raised more than £26,000 for South African organisation the Children’s Radio Foundation, which trains youth reporters to tackle local issues.

It is now choosing which charity to back for 2014.

The group, which was set up 1968 and has raised more than £470,000 for charity, is meeting on January 16 to make its decision.

KOA was founded by St Swithun’s Church, the Kennington Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church and Kennington Methodist Church.

Each year it supports a different overseas charity.

Chairwoman Halcyon Leonard , 69, is taking over the leadership reigns for the new year.

She said: “You never quite know how much you are going to raise.

“Every year we say it has been a fantastic year and think we will never live up to it – but we always get a lot of support from the village.

“There are some very generous people around here. I have only lived here for 10 years and I am very impressed.”

She said the group raised money through a number of events including fun runs, door-to-door collections, concerts and even a fifties fandango night.

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She said: “We also have a shop open for a few weeks a year in the village hall. We were extremely pleased because we had a very good year in 2013.”

Even Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood got involved last year, when he accepted the cheque for the Children’s Radio Foundation on its behalf as a patron. Mrs Leonard said: “Now he wants to stay involved which is amazing.”

“I think the fact that people can choose makes a big difference to everything.”

As well as more fundraising, the group wants to get more younger people involved.

Mrs Leonard said: “I would love it if some young people came to the meeting. They are entitled to, after all.

“Anybody in Kidlington can vote. It is very democratic.”

The three candidates proposed are the Nasio Trust, which supports orphans and vulnerable children in Western Kenya, Landmine Disability Support, which works with people in Cambodia who are disabled as a result of landmine explosions, and the Viva Street Children Programme, which supports children in Bolivia.

Proposals will be heard at the public meeting held at 8pm in St Swithun’s Church Hall, the Avenue.

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