SATURDAY 4 August was dubbed ‘Washing Machine Day’ by many church communities across Cornwall, in order to raise money for replacing broken laundry equipment at the Remeti Orphanage in Romania.

To date over £5,000 has been raised and further events are still in the pipeline, organised by people who couldn’t make the target date but who are still keen to help.

The initiative was the brainchild of indomitable octogenarian, Miss Jean Baker, from Kenwyn Church, who had recently visited the orphanage, only to find that just two of the five washing machines provided by the White Cross Mission 21 years ago, were still in working order. And this to handle the mounting piles of washing from 74 young people – now no longer tiny children, but young adults in their late 20s and early 30s.

“Washing Machine Day appears to have captured the imagination of many people,” said Jean. “Canon Pat Robson and I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the response, and I am pleased to say that two new washing machines have already been ordered for the orphanage at Remeti, and two (together with a dryer) for the other orphanage at Bratca.”

Although the original concept had been for people simply to hold a coffee morning, many chose to do something different. There was no end to the innovation – with events including a barbecue, a breakfast, a car boot sale and buckets for retiring collections.

One lady donated her recent Premium Bond winnings (“The Lord seemed to be telling me to do something sensible with it!”) and there is at least one prestigious party to come.

Jean has been particularly moved by the reawakening of support for the White Cross Mission – with several people recalling their active involvement as part of an 800-strong volunteer initiative started over two decades ago.

She and Canon Robson are keen to keep the momentum going; so they are already planning the next project for spring 2013 – some portable covered facilities, complete with special tables and seating, to provide all-weather work and teaching areas in the grounds of the orphanage at Bratca.

For further information about the work of the White Cross Mission, or to offer practical help and financial assistance, contact Jean Baker on 01872 271658 or Canon Pat Robson, e-mail or call 01726 882366.