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The mighty mite

12 June 2015

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.

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