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Make Poverty History
JANUARY 12, 2005
10:35 AM
CONTACT: Make Poverty History  
Claire Shelley, Christian Aid 020 7523 2419,
Karen Hedges, Christian Aid 020 7523 2404,
Nicky Wimble, Comic Relief 0207 820 6943 / 0774 578 3478

Female Clergy Join Fight Against Poverty


WASHINGTON -- January 12 -- On Thursday 13 January 2005 hundreds of female clergy from England and Wales will join Dawn French to deliver a white band card to No 10 Downing Street to show their support for the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign.

Richard Curtis, co-founder of Comic Relief and writer and executive producer of Vicar of Dibley commented;

"Geraldine would have been 20 at the time of Live Aid - and so it seemed a very apt idea for an episode of Vicar of Dibley to centre around her trying to mark the anniversary of a day which changed her world.

"I believe she'd still be totally up in arms about the horrific statistics 20 years on - one child dying every 3 seconds, unnecessarily, of the results of extreme poverty.

"MakePovertyHistory is a real life campaign that is asking the UK public to send a white band message to the government urging them to make changes around debt, trade and aid that keep poor countries poor”.

Donning their dog collars and the campaign’s global symbol – a white band, the women will meet at St Martin in the Fields (Trafalgar Square) where they will be welcomed by Dawn French and will hold prayers for the victims of the Asian Tsunami which has left more than 150,000 people dead and many millions homeless.

The Tsunami disaster in Asia has exposed the vulnerability of poor people across the world and the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign highlights the hidden disaster of abject poverty that kills 30,000 children every day. The campaign brings together around 150 charities, unions and faith groups to challenge Tony Blair and other world leaders to deliver trade justice, debt cancellation and more and better aid for the world’s poorest countries.

Dr Mary Bradford, churches campaign manager, Christian Aid said: “The churches have been the backbone of virtually every major campaign against mass poverty over the last eight years or so. This visit to Downing Street is designed to show just how strongly the clergy feel that the millions of people who live in poverty every day should have a chance to improve their lives.”

Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square will be dressed in a giant white band where the ladies will pose for a photocall before making their way down Whitehall towards Downing Street.

A delegation of ten women, including Dawn French, will then hand the card into Downing Street for the attention of Tony Blair.

Members of the public wishing to support this year-long campaign or get a white band, should sign on at People can also make their voices heard and exert pressure on Tony Blair and the UK government by sending a white band message, by text, email or post, calling on the government to reverse the injustice of poverty in 2005.

“In the aftermath of the terrible events of Boxing Day, we have been reminded that human beings suffer, regardless of ethnic origin or religion,” Lucy Winkett, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral said. “To gather as Christians for a campaign such as “Make Poverty History” is to affirm that God is somehow present even in the long-term poverty that goes unreported in the media. We find in our determination to eradicate poverty, that we are brought together as human beings across all boundaries.”


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