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Organisation's work assists people in north-east communities

By Kyle Ritchie

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The River Church in Banff has continued its work with an organisation that ensures people acorss the north-east are supported over the winter and during the coronavirus pandemic.

The church teams with Angus Hay who is north-east coordinator of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an international Catholic religious lay order and charity.

The Order of Malta in Great Britain runs an auxiliary organisation around the country, the Companions of the Order of Malta, a key volunteer force in delivering its charitable work.

The River Church organises a food bank and Mr Hay is part of the network created to ensure boxes of new items of clothing can be donated to it and other church and community organisations in the north-east of Scotland for distribution to people in need.

Volunteers at The River Church in Banff receive the boxes of clothing.
Volunteers at The River Church in Banff receive the boxes of clothing.

The Companions' mission is that of the Order of Malta – to care for society’s marginalised, inspired by the Christian charity to help those in need.

It works with the homeless and the poor; runs soup kitchens; volunteers in the order’s residential care homes; visits the elderly and housebound; takes the disabled on pilgrimage to religious shrines; and fundraises for projects.

It is organised on a regional basis, with group coordinators in different parts of the country.

Last month, the Companions of the Order of Malta organised deliveries of boxed new clothing, via a central base in London.

Mr Hay coordinated the 22 boxes to locations throughout Scotland, including Banff, Elgin, Inverness and Aberdeen.

The boxes contained toiletries and winter clothing, including beanies, woollen socks, gloves, T-shirts, and many other items to help keep people warm.

Mr Hay said: "We hope that these items will be useful for the needy and the homeless during the winter, and especially through these difficult times."

In observing all Covid-19 safety precautions, Mr Hay ensured that the boxes were delivered to the volunteers at the River Church in Banff, via the original point of dispatch, the Brompton Oratory Church Hall in London.

The items are received there, organised into packages by Order of Malta members, companions and volunteers, and then sent up to Scotland.

Every year for the last four years, these parcels have been distributed to locations in the north-east of Scotland around Christmas time, but January was a new addition in the light of the extraordinary circumstances.

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