Financial support from an unexpected quarter

 Written on 14th January 2009 

Dear Lodwar Webmaster,

In 1968 a group of about 120 young men completed their Higher School Certificate at De LaSalle College Ashfield (Sydney). One of our teachers was Yvonne Channells' brother, then known as Brother Gerard and now known as John Channells.

Former DLS teachers - John Channells (third from left)

Forty years later a small group of the students from the 1968 class  gathered to organise a 40th reunion. Using the internet as a tool to track down our former classmates, we managed to make contact with 88 of the original group. Of the 88 students we located, some 52 went on to attend our reunion in November 2008.

Yvonne's brother, John Channells was part of the reunion organising committee. He happened to mention his sister's work with the mission in Lodwar, Kenya. As a group we instantly saw the synergy of the situation – the De LaSalle tradition of caring for the underprivileged and a tangible connection (through John) to a mission in need of support. Without hesitation we set a “fee” for the reunion function that was in excess of our costs to guarantee a worthwhile surplus to support Yvonne and the work being done by the Sisters of Mercy in Lodwar.

To add to the serendipity of the situation, our former Year Coordinator from 1968, Brother Bill Firman, has only recently been asked by the De LaSalle order to move to Southern Sudan (not far from the Kenyan border and Lodwar) to start up a teacher training facility in that war-torn country. So from a high school encounter of 40 years ago, we now, as a group, have a common link to TWO people whose ministry is located within a small area of faraway Africa. The Spirit is at work and the connection is strong.

The "Class of 1968" hopes to be able to continue its financial support to both both Yvonne and Bill into the future.

Gary Payne
Class of 1968
De LaSalle College
Ashfield, NSW Australia





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