Sreepur Fundraising Dinner 2018 at the House of Commons

Charity, Events, People and Places — By on April 29, 2018 at 9:23 PM

The Houses of Parliament

Four years ago, the UK member of parliament Jim Fitzpatrick and his team organised his third fundraising dinner at the House of Commons, for the benefit of 150 destitute mothers and 500 children of Sreepur village orphanage in Bangladesh. Last Friday, parliament opened its doors again to receive friends and supporters of the cause by kind invitation of Mr Fitzpatrick, who represents the London constituency of Poplar and Limehouse. Dr. Evelyn Stefanakis was there:

The evening started with a mini-tour of the impressive Houses of Parliament, conducted by Jim Fitzpatrick himself. Participants were in awe of the historic architecture of the Palace of Westminster that is a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Aspect of the main entrance of Westminster

Jim conducted his tour with his usual eloquence and vividness. He related among other facts, that the first royal palace was built in the 11th century, and it was the primary residence of the kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512. After that, it served as the home of parliament of England and the Royal Courts of Justice. In 1834, an even greater fire ravaged the rebuilt Houses of Parliament. The final reconstruction was to the plan of the architect Charles Barry, in the Gothic Revival style, and Augustus Pugin designed the interior of the palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years. Extensive repairs took place after the Second World War, following a bombing raid in 1941. The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the former decorated in green and the upper house in red.

The guests were led through the exquisite central lobby which forms the crossroads of the palace: the spot where corridors from the Lords, Commons, and Westminster Hall meet. They were then invited into the magnificent Stranger’s Dining Room, decorated with an elaborate red flock wallpaper, for an elegant cocktail reception prior to dining. Friends mingled and many had the chance to converse with the MP and his physician wife Dr Sheila Fitzpatrick, who was enthusiastic co-organiser of the event and Pat Kerr, who is the founder of the Sreepur village charity.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, delivering his welcome speech to his guests

All were then seated in the impressive Members’ Dining Room, adorned with beautiful wooden relief sculptures, fascinating paintings and an ornate Royal Coat of Arms above the main entrance.

Before dinner, Jim Fitzpatrick, gave an address to explain the purpose of The Sreepur Village Charity. The UK-registered charity funds and runs Shishu Polli Plus, a women’s and children’s village. It was built with the support of British Airways and air stewardess Ms Kerr. Sreepur provides a loving environment, food, clothing, education and vocational training. The destitute women are given classes in hygiene, literacy, numeracy and other skills to enable them to support their families in the community. The charity has also assisted children from the railway slums in Dhaka, orphans from the Rana Plaza garment factory which collapsed with many fatalities, and children from Myanmar fleeing genocide.

l to r: Ms. Naya Boltetsou, Dr. Ana Chiorean and Dr. Evelyn Stefanakis

Pat Kerr then took over and spoke of the increasing challenges faced by charities such as Sreepur, generally due to the world financial crisis and specifically to recent developments in Myanmar.

After a warm round of applause from the guests, all enjoyed a treat of haute cuisine and fine wine after which the raffle prize winners were announced and an auction began. The winners were not the only one leaving with smiles: all present were gratified to know that their generosity was helping progress the work of the Sreepur charity, while conscious that efforts must continue.

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If you would be interested in contacting the charity the details are:
Tel: + 44 (0) 208 658 7585
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