THE good New Year news in the little Buckinghamshire parish of Woburn Sands is that the 260 Catholics—of whom 100 are children—have in the past 12 months hit their target by raising £1,000 towards a permanent church to replace the 40-year-old wooden Army hut which has served them for some 20 years.
They have even gone beyond the £1,000.
It has been done by the cooperation of all those in the parish, with much help from Catholics and non-Catholics in Woburn Sands and elsewhere.
Donations have been received from many parts of England, and from Ireland. Cyprus and Belgium. A worker at the Dagenham Ford Works sent a week's pay.
An Trish Bishop, celebrating his episcopal silver jubilee, sent 125. A parishioner raised £50 by writing to his friends throughout the year.
A garden fete, bazaar, dances and whist drives, all helped, as did a film show given by a non-Catholic in the village. The children of a small Catholic private school. St. Vincent's. raised f:30 by their presentation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in the surrminding villages. . In addition, the parishioners raised £120 for outside charities.
Mass was first celebrated at the Fir Tree Hotel. Woburn Sands, for the dozen Catholics of the district in 1926.
In 1932 the present Army hut church, dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour,was acquired by the then priest-in-charge, Fr. C. Banham, from St. Neots, where it had served a similar purpose.
Fr. Edmund Golston, who was appointed to Woburn Sands in 1939, has raised over £4,000 since then, and has obtained a site for a permanent building, which he hopes to begin as soon as it is possible to obtain a building licence.