A day with Linda Barker

By Charlotte Tipping, World Vision Sponsor Network Specialist

One early Saturday morning last month, I set off with my friends to take the long journey up to Yorkshire to meet Linda Barker. How exciting to meet her after admiring her from afar on television! What would she be like in person? How amazing that she had rallied all her family and friends to have a Floral Friday fundraiser for World Vision in a lovely village in Yorkshire.

It was a lovely journey - travelling up in sunshine and passing through some beautiful scenery. There's nowhere that I like better than England in the summer. When we arrived at the village in Yorkshire it was idyllic. At first we were greeted by a small village hall festooned with flowers, then in the distance we saw a beautiful elegant lady, in a flowing, floral dress, pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers and with the most adorable two young girls by her side. It was Linda Barker - she wasn't a celebrity who'd arrive at an event when everything had already been prepared, but the woman I met that day was a hard-working lady getting ready to make the day's event really special. And what a special day it was...

Linda kicked-off the event by cutting the ribbon attached to the floral gate, behind which stood a small group of children, all decked out in their floral best. The children then sang a song that had been written especially for the day about World Vision's work. They sounded like angels. I could feel my eyes filling up with tears; children from this little Yorkshire village singing about how we could help children living thousands of miles away.

I then walked into a hive of activity. From making 'rag rugs' to writing poetry, the villagers had all been involved setting up stands for various activities, using their talents to entertain. And there were cakes - so many cakes, all homemade and baked lovingly for the day. Then I saw a beautiful young lady in a floral dress - Linda's daughter, Jess - making a ball of paper flowers, the same flower ball they had made with the children they met in Cambodia.

Then it was Linda's turn. She and Jess had travelled to Cambodia this spring, and had seen firsthand the chronic issues affecting many of the country's children. She spoke so eloquently and passionately about her visit and especially the story of young Lee-ap - who, despite being a child herself, has to care for her siblings while her mother travels to work far away. It was great to see both Linda and Jess speaking from the heart, as a family who had been touched by the people they met. I have heard so many stories from colleagues about their travels to our projects all over the world, but to hear a supporter speak about seeing the effects of our work firsthand is so moving. Jess and Linda were no exception, and they needed no notes or prompting to talk about Cambodia with so much feeling.

It was such a lovely day and Linda, her family and her friends made us feel so welcome. We sat and chatted, laughed and even cried. It felt like a really special day, when in a small village in Yorkshire, everyone could, in a small way, start to change the lives of Lee-Ap and her friends in Cambodia.

World Vision is working to introduce modern irrigation techniques to make harvesting rice more profitable for farmers. It will help small scale farmers – mothers like Lee-Ap’s – grow crops that they can sell and cook to ensure a healthy, nutritious diet for their children. More importantly the programme aims to reduce the need for parents to leave vulnerable children for long periods while they scrape together enough money for food and ensure children like Lee-Ap can complete their education.

World Vision is fundraising for agricultural projects like the one that Linda visited this spring through our new summer campaign, Floral Friday. We’re asking supporters to wear something floral on July 10 and text FLORAL to 70060* to let hope bloom for children like Lee-Ap.

*This is a charity donation service for World Vision. Texts cost £5 plus your standard network rate message. World Vision will receive 100% of your donation. If you have a question about your payment call 0203 282 7863. If you would prefer we didn’t contact you again in future, text NOCOMMS WORLD VISION to 70060. Charity no. England and Wales (no. 285908).

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