Delia defends Christians in Lent appeal plea
Delia Smith has leapt to the defence of Christian belief while launching an appeal to raise cash for development charity CAFOD and offering a chance to spend a VIP day with her at Norwich City. Keith Morris reports.
Well known cookery writer and a devout Catholic, Delia Smith is calling on her online followers to support a cause close to her heart - the work of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD).
In a statement on www.deliaonline.com
, she asks people to do what they can to support CAFOD in their Lent fundraising campaign to provide clean, safe water in some of the poorest countries in the world.
As an incentive, Delia is offering supporters the chance to enter a competition to win an exclusive VIP day out for four at a Norwich home game, joining Delia (who is a joint majority shareholder at the club) and her family for a Champagne lunch before the game.
At the same time, Delia has taken the opportunity to leap to the defence of Christian belief, which she sees as under attack in public.
Writing on her website, Delia said: “I am aware that - just at this time in our history - Lent could be an emotive word. I am, as you may or may not know, a passionate believer but of late, we are somewhat under the cosh.
"There is a running battle going on in the press, and militant neo-Atheists and devout secularists are busting a gut to drive us off the radar and try to convince us that we hardly exist.
"Whilst the belief battle grabs the headlines, one thing we all stand united on is hopefully our common belief in human life and human flourishing. This is why I have supported CAFOD for as many years as they have existed, and this year, they are celebrating 50 years of helping the poorest people in over 40 countries of the world.
"This year, as a tribute to all they have achieved and the careful management of their funds, the Government has awarded CAFOD something called Match Funding which means every £1 they raise will be matched by £1 from UK aid! So this being such a mega opportunity, I am asking you all to join me in trying to help them.
"The funds they raise this year will be used to provide clean water for those without and there are a staggering 884 million people in dire need.”
For the first time, CAFOD’s Lent 2012 appeal has been awarded matched funding from the UK government, meaning the charity could raise £10 million for its water projects, if it reaches its £5 million fundraising target.
The CAFOD Lent appeal, launched on February 22, has already reached the £1 million mark and Delia Smith hopes that her ringing endorsement will help keep the momentum going until the campaign ends on May 17.
Delia Smith photo by kind permission of Trevor Leighton.