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50 Years of 'Remarkable and Beautiful' Christian Aid Sale Celebrated

Wednesday November 30 2022

The Head of Christian Aid Scotland has said the Annual Sale at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church in Edinburgh is ‘a remarkable and beautiful thing’.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton was speaking today at a Service of Thanksgiving for fifty years of sales at the George Street Church.

Growing from one table of books in 1973 to one of the largest charity sales in the UK, each year in May the sale takes over the church throughout Christian Aid Week. Supplemented in recent years by an autumn sale of art and Scottish books, the sale has raised the equivalent of £5 million at today’s prices.

Convener, Mary Davidson, said she would ‘never forget’ the first morning of Christian Aid Week 1973, when they were told some books had been donated and had the idea of setting up a stall on a single table. She paid tribute to the many volunteers who come back every year to help sort and sell the books, and also to the Edinburgh businesses and institutions who have supported the sale over the years.

The Rev Ian Gilmour, the former minister of the church, said the sale was the cause of ‘sore backs, sore heads and sore hearts’ but it had had ‘major consequences for the life of a city, a charity and our personal lives… for we have been gathered into the warp and weft of the tapestry that is the Christian Aid Sale.’ He added: “Working with others to serve the poorest is an act of love. It overcomes sore heads, sore back sand sore hearts… it has been an example of love in action and a privilege for us all to have been part of it.”

The sale’s Pictures convener, James Holloway, presented Mrs Foster Fulton with a cheque for £50,000 from this year’s autumn sale. He said that, apart from Lady Mary, there had been one presence at the sale throughout the 50 years: the church itself. “Individuals are vital, but without the church as focus and inspiration the sales would never have happened and the £5 million would never have been raised.”

In return, St Andrew’s and St George’s West was presented with a certificate of thanks ‘for your incredible support over the past 50 years’.

Mrs Foster-Fulton said: “Something else has been here that entire time, and that is the Holy Spirit: lifting, chiding, challenging, pushing, saying ‘yes, we can’.

“There are people you will never know and never meet, but the work you have done has profoundly changed their lives, and I hope, trust and believe has profoundly changed yours as well… Long after those 50 years, and whatever our future together, what a remarkable and beautiful thing you have done.”


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