St. Mary Magdalene and St. Guthlac Churches, in Knighton, Leicester, have for many years raised money to support the Oxford Mission in Behala, Kolkata, and in particular the work of the late Sister Florence SE. Lorna Kirk tells how it all started:
It was 1987 when Sister Florence visited our Parish, and we had the opportunity of hearing about her wonderful work with leprosy patients, and the numerous homeless children with whom she shared her life. This prompted us to think how we might raise some money to support Sister Florence, and the Lenten Lunches seemed a good idea. In 1989 we received a thank-you letter from her describing how the first £225 had been spent. It had helped patients at the Premananda Leprosy Hospital by purchasing artificial limbs, and paying for operations, food, clothing and soap. This fund-raising continues during the season of Lent each year, when we invite our congregation and friends to visit the Parish Centre where soup, bread and butter, cheese, tea and coffee are served between 12 noon and 1.30 p.m. This year the charge will be £3.00, but our folk are generous and often donations are given if people cannot attend. For the last three years we have sent respectively £450, £563 and £407. In addition, in 1989 Father Mathieson wrote about the dilapidated bus which was used by his Youth Orchestra for all sorts of excursions and transport to camps and musical rehearsals. We found another source of fund-raising, and donated money to refurbish some parts of the vehicle. In May, 1996, what a joyous visit we had when the Oxford Mission Youth Orchestra with Father Mathieson gave a memorable concert in St. Marys Church, Leicester, and we had the pleasure of accommodating the 40 boys in our Parish homes.