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The Romanian Aid Foundation

Newsletter,  Autumn 2006



Much is happening at RoAF and we are aware that sometimes we have not been very good at keeping all our supporters informed, so here's an attempt to keep everyone up to date. So far, this has been a challenging year, which has meant a lot of change, but some things never change. The need for aid amongst the poorest in Dorohoi is as great as ever and I am pleased to report that the five full loads we have sent so far this year have been skilfully used by Beni and his team.

The first snow in Romania for the coming season was reported on 30th August!!  There is likely to be a warmer spell before the real winter comes but this does act as a reminder.  If you are thinking of treating yourself to a new winter outfit then we know someone who could use the old one.  Check out our list of Priority Items elsewhere on the site.

New Trustees 

At the beginning of this year, the trustees at RoAF changed. The new trustees are Chris Edmonds, Steve Humphreys and Jane Inman.  Both Steve and Jane are well known to most of you, both live in Horley and have been involved in the work of RoAF for several years. Steve has been the central player, most of the day to day responsibility of making RoAF happen have fallen in his lap, that is except when he is in Romania visiting Beni and our other workers in Dorohoi. Chris lives in Pontardawe, South Wales, with his wife but he is frequently in the Horley area for business. Many, many years ago when they lived in Horley they were part of Horley Baptist Church and so are old friends of Steve and Peter and Lesley and many others.

Warehouse Development 

The last newsletter showed pictures of our temporary storage facility in Smallfield. This is working out much better than originally envisaged. We rent two ground floor rooms totalling 280 ft2 which is inadequate for our needs but the miraculously good news is the use of the roof space which the owner allows us to us free of charge, this extra 400ft2 gives us enough space to store well over a complete load. Although this current arrangement in Smallfield is meeting our needs, we are still looking at alternative accommodation as it would be better to be located in Horley, it would be better if we could sort and pack on site, it would be better if we only paid a peppercorn rent, but the good news is that after the traumas of exiting the warehouse in Salfords, we do have stability and since our Smallfield home has grown in proportions we do have space.

RoAF goes national 

Supporters have saved, sorted and packed for RoAF from all over the UK for years; the number of towns and villages that have a RoAF presence has included Northern Ireland, Cannock, Bracknell, villages in Essex, Isle of Man, Lossiemouth Scotland etc. Apologies to you if I have inadvertently excluded you; but now we have storage facilities elsewhere as well. 

In Lampeter, South Wales, Richard and Linda Burgess have acquired a redundant artic trailer and are using it to store aid as it is packed by the RoAF team in Lampeter. This is particularly useful because at times, aid has to be collected and stored immediately and with the loss of the Salfords depot we were not sure how this could work in the future. Problem solved. Perhaps in the future we may see other packing and storing centres springing up in other parts.

Richardís 25th trip to Romania 

In May, Richard Burgess, who drove our first lorry to Dorohoi in 1992, made his 25th trip with aid. The following is a cutting from his local Lampeter paper:

Temple Barís Richard Burgess has embarked on a gruelling 5,000-mile journey to Romania, to deliver humanitarian aid collected by a local church to the small town of Dorohoi. The journey has become a regular trip for Mr Burgess, who is completing his 25th trip to Dorohoi since the Emmaus Fellowship Church began collecting aid in 1992. He said "The people in the Lampeter area are very supportive of our charity, the Romanian Aid Foundation, and help to make these missions possible by giving a variety of aid. Our church helps to finance the trips, with each one costing around £2,000 for all the things involved. Poverty is still a very real issue in this remote area of Eastern Europe where unemployment is in excess of 85 per cent and the only industry is agriculture, so the need is just as great as in 1992 when I made my first visit."

The links between the Lampeter Church and the Dorohoi Baptist Church have seen the much-needed aid taken to the area over 14 years, as well as the employment of a full-time worker who helps distribute the aid and run projects in the area.

The aid includes a variety of clothing, blankets, duvets, food and medical supplies, toys and computer and school equipment which filled the 40-tonne articulated lorry from Preston. Richard left on Tuesday for Romania but when he returns he will not be sitting on his laurels, with planning already under way for another trip in the autumn to deliver shoeboxes to the families in Dorohoi in time for Christmas.

AN Shop Refurbishment 

In late May this year, the AN shop underwent a complete refurbishment. For supporters new to RoAF, the aid sent out to Romania is first sorted, the major part is distributed by Beni and his team to the most needy in Dorohoi. The minor part is offered for sale at the AN charity shop. The revenue from the shop pays all the running costs of the AN organisation, this includes the wages of 7 people including Beni, who otherwise would be unemployed. 

Concern was expressed while the shop was closed that the regular clientele might drift away, however we are pleased to report that takings in the shop on reopening were much higher than before and have remained at this new high level. Here are some shop pictures.


Joy in a BoxShoeboxes ready for distribution


Don't forget that now is the time to be working hard with our Joy in a Box appeal. Full details are on the web, Completed shoeboxes (together with £1/box donation) can be forwarded to Horley or Lampeter. 

In previous years we have managed between 500 and 900 shoeboxes, can we make a special effort to see if we can make it 1000 this year. 

Beni and Steve have many an emotional story to tell about their experiences with the distribution of the gift boxes - the joy and sense of hope they bring to those without hope cannot be adequately put down on paper, except to say that every one makes a big difference to a child.

If you want further information about the gift box scheme then please see our website at


Immediate Needs 

We don't like saying this, but our biggest on going need is money. It costs around £1,900 to send a full load to Dorohoi, and over 80% of the money raised goes towards transport. The need is always there, so is the aid, the more we can raise the more we can send. In June we declined an offer of several classrooms of furniture, furniture desperately needed in Dorohoi, because we had insufficient funds to commit to another trailer so soon after the May trailer. 

It has been noticeable that through this time of change and uncertainty caused by the loss of the Salfords depot, that giving to RoAF has declined by nearly 30%, this together with the extra costs of renting in Smallfield means we are close to restricting normal deliveries while we wait for finance. Please consider carefully your response, we sent 8 loads in 2005, but it will be less this year, please help us get back up to where we were last year, the needs in Dorohoi are not going away.

Some good times together 


The 2006 RoAF Duck Race took place on the River Mole on Saturday 17th June.  All the ducks were sponsored and over £500 was raised to help with the distribution of aid in northern Romania. Many thanks to those who helped make the event such a success, plus congratulations to George and Annette Didon who won dinner for two at the Six Bells.  The 2007 Duck Race is planned for Saturday 16th June.


The Dennis Hickman Jazz Quintet features Dennis Hickman at the piano and Des Ward as vocalist. The group gave a wonderful concert at Oakwood School in May, which set many a foot tapping in the hall.  Proceeds from the evening have been used to help with the costs of transporting aid to Romania.


Forthcoming Events Two harps, News06Aut/PB260051b.JPG

The annual harp concert by Keziah Thomas, the highly skilled London harpist, will be held on Saturday 25th November at St Francis's Church, Balcombe Road, Horley.

This is always a delightful evening - the programme is due to start at 6:00 pm and this year it will include a light buffet during the interval.


This newsletter is published on behalf of the Romanian Aid Foundation and Asociatia Neemia.  For further information or to be added to the newsletter mailing list please use our response page or write to us using the contact details below: 

The Romanian Aid Foundation

179 Albert Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS, UK; 


The Romanian Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828. 


Asociatia Neemia

Str Spiru Haret nr 9, Dorohoi, Botosani 6850, Romania.  

Telephone 0231 610059; email: 



This newsletter is  © Romanian Aid Foundation, September 2006.  

Link to previous newsletter:  Spring 2006


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