IT IS the simplest of schemes - people save their 5p pieces in
order to save lives. A parish on the Isle of Wight
(Portsmouth diocese) has been doing it since 2003,
and has raised an astonishing £4000, which means that, in 12 years,
they have collected some 80,000 of those irritating little coins
that congregate in the bottom of a purse and are so difficult to
get hold of.
The money goes to the Mite Scheme, started in 1985 by Roy
Barnet, who had learned that it cost only 5p to give a child a
sachet of oral rehydration to prevent his or her death from
diarrhoea. Since then, the cost of a sachet of the necessary sugar
and salts has gone up by a few pence, but the collection of 5p
pieces (regularly converted into a proper-sized cheque) goes on,
and has saved millions of children's lives.
Worshippers at St Edmund's and St Mark's churches at Wootton, on
the Isle of Wight, heard about it when one of their congregation,
Yvonne Gilbert, saw a letter about the Mite Scheme in The
Guardian, and wrote to ask more. She tells me that, in the
12 years since they started collecting the coins, there has been no
diminishing of the congregation's enthusiasm.