London: lorry departs for earthquake village, laden with Christmas gifts

Packing for the journey

Packing for the journey

South London artist Malcolm Surridge  and his wife Felicity, dedicated  the last six months fundraising  for the village of San Raniero in Italy, devastated by the L'Aquila earthquake in April. They have raised over £9,000 in cash and collected  statues, computers and equipment, toys, musical instruments, clothing  and  blankets. Aylesford Priory in Kent donated  statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Therese of Lisieux and Fr Tony Charlton, Dean of Kingston Deanery, donated a wooden statue of the Sacred Heart. San Raniero's church  and statues were smashed in the quake and Mass is celebrated in a warehouse until a new church can be built.

Fr Gerald Abuachi visited  recently and St Joseph's Church, New Malden  was twinned with San Raniero. Children at the parish  primary school donated 47 shoe boxes of gifts and classroom essentials and the teachers gave teaching equipment.  Musical instruments for the youth group - guitars, violins, bongo drums, accordion and keyboards - have been given by parishioners. Toys, gifts and a folding bicycle have also been

Today, ITAL Logistics, (twice winners of best European Service Provider for freight services), collected everything from St Joseph's. Managing director, Phil Denton was there to help load the large pallets,having donated his company's services free as a Christmas gesture.

Parish priest, Fr Peter Edwards blessed the lorry which left after  the Angelus bell tolled,  driving towards the Channel Tunnel. It will arrive in Italy on Wednesday. The Surridges'  fly out on Thursday and will drive down from Rome to meet the lorry on 21st when it arrives at San Raniero. Christmas Day they will distribute gifts to the children dressed as Fr Christmas, staying until 28 December.

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