Cradley cream teas to help disabled Bulgarian orphans

Halesowen News: Fundraiser Jill Ditchfield with some of her baby knitwear. Fundraiser Jill Ditchfield with some of her baby knitwear.

A CRADLEY church is staging its first ever spring fair on Saturday (June 28) to boost funds to help disabled orphans in Bulgaria.

Cradley Baptist Church is a keen supporter of the campaign to equip the orphanage, launched by church member Jill Ditchfield six years ago.

Proceeds will go towards providing disabled buggies for the severely disabled children and follows last year’s fundraising which paid for a shower aid.

Mrs Ditchfield, of Hillcrest Avenue, Halesowen, started raising money for the orphans after visiting them when her mother and sister moved to Bulgaria.

A prolific knitter, she regularly sells handmade baby clothes from a table top in the Cornbow Centre in aid of the children , while her home has become a can recycling centre earning a couple of hundred pounds a year.

After three years of solo fundraising, collecting around £1,000, her church found out and offered to help, enabling £2,500 worth of items to be donated to the orphanage in just two years.

The disabled buggies cost £700 and Mrs Ditchfield and the church have already raised enough to buy almost three.

Although her mother has since died, the 60-year-old still visits her sister twice a year, calling at the orphanage for a shopping list in the spring and delivering the much-needed items in the autumn.

The building has been adapted and refurbished with European money since Bulgaria joined the EU. It is home to 15 children who will shortly move into four specially created separate family units.

Mrs Ditchfield said: “It’s run by a doctor and it’s always been spotless with caring staff. I think this group of children will stay there all their lives now.

“I’ll carry on helping them until they have what they need – I think next on the list will be soft ball play equipment.”

The spring fair at the church in Church Road, from 1pm until 4pm, will feature Cradley cream teas, a bouncy castle, face painting, and stalls selling a variety of goodies, including knitwear, plants, gifts and cakes.

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