Mr. and Mrs. Butterworth celebrated their Ruby wedding with a ceilidh and collected donations in lieu of gifts from friends.

“My mother and sister have always supported St Martins. So, I guess the decision to support the charity just comes from my family story, really. My sister, she was a teacher, and she even referred a couple of people that were going through a rough time to your work. She said: ‘you can turn to the Vicars Relief Fund for help’. I guess what appeals to me about the VRF is how quickly it can help someone. I have worked helping people before, with the citizens advice. I thought I wanted to make a real difference in the lives of people. But it is always the waiting for a decision that is a problem! How is it possible that it takes up to 5 weeks for the DWP to reach a decision? And the Vicars Relief Fund, I know you can just decide where the money goes in way less time!

Plus, when I used to live in London, I would visit St Martin in the Fields quite often. Now that we live up north, in the middle of nowhere really, that is trickier. So, donations to your work is our way to continue our support. And we are great BBC Radio 4 listeners, you see. We hear the Vicars appeal every Christmas, and we have been supporting you for a number of years. When our Ruby wedding came up, we just thought: ‘well, we are going to have a party. Lots of people will come, and no doubt we will be inundated with things, things you don’t really want or need’. And Christmas was so close, where surely more presents would come. So, we decided to ask our friends for a contribution to the Vicars Relief Fund instead.

As soon as our friends knew about our idea, they were on board. Most of them support some lovely charities themselves, mind you. And they left some lovely messages with their donations, too. Plus, it was good fun to get together and dance. We are in a dancing club, Mr. Butterworth and me. We love dancing. We had been to parties where donations had been collected before and we thought: ‘what a great idea!’ Plus, it also gives other people the idea to do that same thing themselves in their next gathering. We thought: ‘let’s get our friends together, have fun, and raise some money to help people while we do it. Let’s put a bucket at the back of the room and see how much we gather’. And that’s what we did!”

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