Monday, 23 October 2017

Cafe to support waitress with fund-raiser

A CAFE in Henley is to stage a night of entertainment to raise money for the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

A CAFE in Henley is to stage a night of entertainment to raise money for the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

The Chocolate Café, in Thames Side, is showing support for Filipino waitress Maria Fe Paña, who moved to Britain three years ago.

The fund-raiser on December 4 will include a pop quiz hosted by former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read. There will also be a raffle and the café will donate food. There are 96 places available.

More than 4,000 people were killed when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8 and an estimated 11 million others have been affected.

Mrs Fe Paña, 39, said: “I am really pleased there will be a fund-raiser to help the Philippines because people there really need some aid like clothes, food and water. It made me feel special because I’m from the Philippines and the people here in Henley are fund-raising for my country.”

Mrs Fe Paña moved here in 2010 to study health and social care at the University of Reading.

Her husband Carlos, a policeman, and eight-year-old daughter Mary Geraldine have remained in Lagaspi City, which wasn’t affected by the typhoon.

Mrs Fe Paña, who visits her family once a year, said she was worried when she first heard news of the disaster.

She said: “I was so shocked and felt awful when I saw the footage on TV because I thought it had happened at the place where I’m from but when I called home they told me everyone was okay and I was relieved. Seeing the devastation that was caused was so terrible.”

Britain has given £30 million in emergency aid and another £35 million has been raised in donations.

Mrs Fe Paña said: “On behalf of my country, I would like to thank the British people for their help.

“The first time I saw David Cameron saying they would donate money and send navy ships I felt so grateful.”

Vivienne Connery, who runs the café, came up with the idea of the fund-raiser.

She said: “When the disaster first hit the Philippines Maria was naturally very worried about her family back home because the devastation was huge. She was very humble and couldn’t believe how the UK was supporting her homeland. I thought it might be a nice gesture to her and the Philippines to make our own contribution here.”

A donation pot is on display at the cafe and customers have already given a total of £60.

Read, who lives in Henley, wrote the song Grief Never Grows Old for the 2004 Asian tsunami relief appeal. The song, which featured Cliff Richard, Boy George, Brian Wilson and the DJ himself, reached number four in the charts.

Read said: “It’s not a dissimilar situation to the tsunami so I said if they can get some teams together we will do a quiz.

“We’re always shocked by disasters like this but at least now we know more about them because of the media. It’s a global thing and we can all chip in and help with everyone doing their bit.”

Read presented Pop Quiz on TV in the Eighties and is now a BBC Radio Berkshire presenter and a quizmaster at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row.

Tickets for the fund-raiser, which will take place at 7.30pm, cost £15 and can be bought at the cafe.

Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge has donated £3,000 for four Shelterboxes for people made homeless by the typhoon.

The 10-man tents are equipped with essentials such as blankets and water purification kits.

The club spent another £1,000 on an Aquabox, which can purify up to 22 litres of dirty water a day.

Club president Mike Pooley, said: “Rotary clubs around the world are buying Shelterboxes. Many are already being used in the Philippines.”

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