Samaritans’ focus is charity

Neo Bodumela

THE Samaritans in Walmer may have lost founding member Frances Exley but the group, which does charity work in the Eastern Cape, is determined to carry on her legacy.

Exley, who recently died after an illness, started the Samaritans nearly 60 years ago and invited women of any religious beliefs and backgrounds to work together for charity in Port Elizabeth and farther afield.

According to her daughter Ann Beck, who lives in Australia but is in the country to sort out her mother’s estate, Exley was the first person to donate to the Missionvale Care Centre when Sister Ethel Normoyle came to South Africa.

“They met the first year Sister Ethel was here and my mother was one of the first people to raise money for Missionvale. It was Mom’s favourite charity for the past 25 years. Sister Ethel and Mom became firm friends after Mom ran the first fundraiser ever for Missionvale way back in 1988,” she said.

The Samaritans’ shop started 20 years ago under the guidance of Exley, who was awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict for her service to society. The Samaritans’ shop will be open Wednesdays from January 30 from 10am to 2pm at 12 Eleventh Avenue in Walmer.

The shop sells arts and crafts, lunch and teas and has, since its inception, been run from the Exley home. The Samaritans also arrange fundraising teas and lunches for charities.

“Samaritans have given millions of rands to charities, organisations and individuals over the years. Samaritans are so much more than a fundraising organisation. Wonderful friendships were formed [and] although they worked very hard, there was lots of fun, laughter and support,” Beck said.

  • For further information contact The Samaritans, (041)581-2371 or Missonvale Care Centre, (041)811-7525/6.

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