‘I’m touched but not surprised by the generosity of parishioners’

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A Derry priest has been overwhelmed but not surprised by the generosity shown by his parishioners after they handed over dozens of Christmas gifts to Foyle Women’s Aid.

Rev. Canon Paul Hoey, the rector of St. Canice’s Church of Ireland in Eglinton said the charitable gesture was both typical of the local people and reminiscent of the benevolence that was shown to them after the disastrous floods of August 2017.

Canon Hoey said: “I’m very touched - but not surprised - by the generosity shown by our parishioners.

“This community benefitted from the generosity of others after the flood sixteen months ago, and it’s right that we now remember others in their time of need.”

Three young Eglinton Primary School pupils Chloe Boyd, Jack Thompson and Jenna Boyd, formally presented the gifts, donated by members of Faughanvale Church of Ireland Parish, to Ivan Barber and John O’Hagan from Teamlink, who received them on behalf of Foyle Women’s Aid.

The gifts were gathered over the past few weeks and stored beneath a 16-foot Christmas tree which has been erected in St. Canice’s Church for the festive season.

Jenna, Chloe, and Jack, handed them over at the weekend under the guidance of Rev. Hoey, and Ernest Moore.

Rev. Hoey reflected that Christmas, while a period of celebration for most, is anything but for those suffering or recovering from domestic abuse and sexual violence.

He said Foyle Women’s Aid was at the forefront of supporting victims and their families and the parish wanted to recognise that this Christmas.

“We appreciate the help that Foyle Women’s Aid provides for the victims of domestic violence in the North West.

“The organisation does tremendous work all year round, but we’re aware that Christmas can bring particular pressures to bear on the charity and bring great distress to many homes. We pray that God will show his mercy to those who suffer the consequences of domestic violence and, in the meantime, hope that our gifts will offer some small comfort to children who are affected,” he said.

Receiving the gifts John O’Hagan and Ivan Barber thanked the parishioners for their generosity and said it was a sad fact that every single present would be needed this Christmas. Foyle Women’s Aid exists to eliminate domestic abuse and sexual violence, through raising awareness, preventive educational advice and support. Its services cover Derry, Strabane, Limavady and Dungiven.

It’s national 24 hour helpline can be contacted on 08088021414 while its local domestic abuse helpline can be contacted on 02871416800.