Congregationcollects toolsinstead of cash

a COLLECTION with a difference was held recently as part of the harvest thanksgiving celebrations at Hutton, Fishwick and Paxton Church.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th October 2010, 9:38 am

Following the service on Sunday, October 10, the congregation met with other local residents in Paxton Village Hall, where a trailer was standing by for the contributions - fortunately it wasn’t to be filled with coins, but instead with the tools and equipment that had been gathering dust in people’s attics or garden sheds, destined for a new life and a new home.

And by donating their unwanted tools and equipment, the people of Berwickshire were helping those in need on the other side of the world through Tools With a Mission (TWAM), a charity that enables people in the third world to earn a living and support themselves.

The man who initiated the unusual collection at Paxton was Hutton, Fishwick and Paxton minister Reverend Bill Landale, who said that he had originally stumbled across the Tools With a Mission charity quite by chance.

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“I married a couple at Paxton House and unusually for me I stayed for the wedding breakfast,” he explained. “I was sitting next to a chap who was from the midlands. I was speaking to him and asked what he did - he said he was retired, but that he volunteered for TWAM. He explained about the charity and their work and I thought it would tie in really well with the harvest festival idea. We’re always quite keen to do something relevant.

“We had a service in the church on the Sunday, and then we went to the Village Hall. Some people had been at the service and some just came straight to the Hall. John Elliot from the Scottish Farmer gave a fabulous talk, and we had a little game - I had compiled some sheets with pictures of obscure tools and teams had to say what they were used for. They really were obscure, I think the highest score was about two out of 10!”

Based in Ipswich, Tools With A Mission was started around 25 years ago. A Christian charity, it provides help in countries of the world where people have few skills, little education and no means of earning a living. TWAM encourage a switch from aid dependency to self sufficiency by collecting and refurbishing tools and equipment no longer required in the UK and sending them overseas.

And after a root around the garden, cellar or shed, the people of Paxton and the surrounding areas came up trumps.

“The collection went really well,” Reverend Landale said. “The stage at Paxton Village Hall is quite substantial and it was completely covered. We had absolutely everything from old sithes to wooden blocks, rakes, and spades. You name it we had it! It was a huge collection.”

TWAM have volunteers all over the UK who collect the unwanted tools and deliver them to a workshop, where more volunteers sort them according to the trade they will be used by.

“The collector for our area is Ray Pilkinton, who came down from Haddington on the Sunday morning,” Reverend Landale said. “The tools and equipment filled his trailer and his car!

“He gave a couple of minutes explanation in the Hall of how it all works; the tools will be refurbished, sharpened and cleaned at one of the charity’s workshops. They’ll then be packed up into kits such as carpenters kits or plumbers kits, and they’ll be sent on to Africa or India.”

The tools are sent overseas in response to specific requests, so all the completed kits.

When the charity has enough orders for one country they load the kits and equipment into a shipping container. TWAM send about 20 containers to third world countries every year.

Go to www.twam.co.uk for more information about Tools With a Mission.