On a visit to St John’s Church, Southall, last month (February), The Prince of Wales met A Rocha UK founder Rev Dave Bookless (pictured), and heard about the charity’s work that started at the town in 2001.
A Rocha UK was one of a group of local initiatives invited to the visit to show The Prince of Wales the work they are doing in the local community. The Prince was there to meet members of the town’s faiths forum and to hear more about the church’s community work.
Two weeks later, Lord Tony Young and Mayor of Ealing Councillor Harbhajan Kaur Dheer joined more than 100 A Rocha UK staff and volunteers to plant 70 fruit trees and 80 fruit bushes at the urban nature reserve Wolf Fields (pictured below).
Lord Tony Young is a loyal supporter of the project. Harbhajan Kaur – the first Asian woman to have been elected mayor of Ealing – said Southall needs an organisation like A Rocha UK.
‘I’ve known A Rocha UK for quite a while now,’ she added, ‘for the exemplary work they do in Southall in raising environment awareness – and transforming derelict land into beautiful green space.’
Also present was St Mary’s Church Rector Rev Jeff Pyne. St Anselm parish priest Father Gerard Mitchell sent more than 30 Catholic young people to assist with the planting – and donated £200 to the project.
The tree planting continued over two separate days. An A Rocha UK volunteer said, ‘I’m very pleased to see the area that was laid waste and unattractive transformed into a vibrant community green space’.
Community Manager Kailean Khongsai recalled his previous meeting with The Prince of Wales, when he and Conservation Manager Andy Lester had the chance to tell His Royal Highness about the work of A Rocha’s UK ministry during his visit to St Mellitus Church in central London. (Photo of Prince Charles and Rev Dave Bookless by Selwyn Stephen of St John’s Church, Southall)