St John’s has made a ‘wonderful’ response to this year’s Blythswood Care shoe box appeal.

The boxes were delivered into church ready for collection at Tesco on Cuckoo Bridge where drivers from Blythswood, Gerry and Stephen, collected 43 of them, kindly donated by members of our congregation and their friends.

Another six boxes and donations totalling £15 arrived after the deadline, and at the time of posting this story were very kindly due to be taken for collection at Castle Douglas by Alison Bain from St Ninians.

The boxes have been filled with all sorts of Christmas goodies for young and old alike, as well as everyday practical items such as soaps and toiletries that were on a checklist which Blythswood provided.

The shoe boxes will be distributed across Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Pakistan, Romania,

Carol and Ann with the shoe boxes at St John's
Carol and Ann with the shoe boxes at St John’s

Serbia and Ukraine.

Carol with Getsy at St John's and all the shoe boxes ready for collection
Carol with Getsy at St John’s and all the shoe boxes ready for collection

The charity will also add a Bible storybook to the children’s shoe boxes, a book for teenagers and a calendar with Bible verses for the adults.

‘Our response was wonderful,’ said church secretary Carol Finlay, who along with Ann Beaton and Getsy Ratnam sorted all the boxes that came into church before taking them for collection.Carol picture 3

Said Carol: ‘These gifts are a sign of the generosity and Christian love of our congregation and their friends in that they want to help put a smile on the faces of people they do not know, hundreds and even thousands of miles away, and who would have very little otherwise at Christmas.’

Carol said that a fun quiz in the church hall plus individual and online donations had raised £433 – cash that will be used by Blythswood to help meet the transportation costs in delivering all the shoe boxes in the run up to Christmas.

She added: ‘We are over the moon and very grateful to all those that gave in whatever way. We sent six more boxes than last year as well as increasing our financial support.

‘We now pray that the lorries reach their destinations safely as the drivers pass through the many border controls with their precious cargo.’

Last winter Blythswood’s appeal resulted in 106,000 shoe boxes being delivered to people in eight east European countries and in Pakistan. The charity has distributed almost 2 million shoe boxes in the 22 years of the appeal.

Blythswood’s chief executive, James Campbell, said he has been personally involved in delivering the boxes to people who are homeless and in some cases in desperate poverty.

He said: ‘To realise that someone cares for them, people whom they’ve never met can bring indescribable happiness to people in need.

‘It is the unexpected act of kindness that brings joy to everyone who receives a box filled with such care and generosity and by the many others who support this important project.

Pictures taken by Robin Paisley


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


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The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall. Check here for December arrangements which will be different.


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