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London couple aid Italian earthquake village

rescuers working in earthquake rubble

rescuers working in earthquake rubble

A west London couple have launched an appeal to aid an Italian village devastated by the earthquake before Easter. Having spent enjoyable holidays in San Raniero in  the L'Aquila region,  Malcolm and Felicity Surridge from Surbiton  are planning to organize volunteers to assist  the local community with essential rebuilding.

They phoned  the Italian parish priest and learnt first hand of the plight of the local community and damage to the Catholic church and determined to repay the hospitality they had received by offering practical assistance. The village is still suffering aftershocks from the quake and is in  a poor area, dependent on tourism and farming

The Surridges are flying out there to meet with the mayor, bishop and Caritas Italiana in  less than two weeks time to assess the situation.

Felicity, a project manager  with local government for more than twenty years ,and now running her own business, has taken six months off work to mastermind the project. Malcolm is an artist who has spent time painting in the region and hopes to raise funds selling some of his work and staging exhibitions.

They  point out that the media focus has moved on from  the earthquake victims and   rebuilding is concentrated on the main city areas. Outlying villages such as San Raneiro are at the bottom of the list .People are  living in tents and it is essential that they are rehoused before the winter when temperatures drop to sub -zero in this mountainous region some sixty miles from Rome.

The Surridges  sing in the choir  at St Joseph's Catholic Church, New Malden and they launched the appeal there on Sunday  with display boards of pictures showing the stricken village and it's inhabitants.   Malcolm spoke from the pulpit asking for volunteers  who can assist with carpentry, scaffolding, roofing,plumbing , painting and decorating . Fundraising activities will be publicised in the next few months but  the imperative,he says, is to get construction volunteers together to provide temporary structures for the villagers. Volunteers will be accomodated in local monasteries.

Anyone  able to assist email art@malcomsurridge.co.uk or telephone the parish office 0208  942 2602