| |Tenshun as Sister Rita is piped in the churchyard
Max captures the scene for his photo album
Mark Wells welcomes the guests.
4 inches flowed down Kirkhill in flash storm
Sister Rita blesses the venture
Kris Chapman tells us of his work and support for young people and those in need
Sister Rita chats with the audience
Town Crier could not make it in person but this little chap stepped in.
Food Facts and Friends - Official opening 7 June 2016
|Story - Jim Paterson. Photos Jim Paterson & John Stuart|
Mark Wells & Gordon MacDonald meet Sister Rita Lee & Max at Waverley station
Facts and Friends (FFF) welcomed Sister Rita Lee and Max, from the
Lalley Centre in Manchester, to officially open the drop in centre at
St. Mungo's on Tuesday 7 June. Gordon MacDonald and Jim Paterson from
St. Mungo's joined Mark Wells, leader of the FFF team to meet Sister
Rita and her party at Edinburgh Waverley station. The party also
included BBC film crew Rachel an Simon who are creating a documentary
of Sister Rita's work for a new series to be screened in November.
took the party the scenic route to Penicuik, passing the Scottish
Parliament, Holyrood Palace, through the park, ski slope, and along the
Pentland Hills. The route bypassed roadworks on the approach to
Penicuik which were experiencing major delays due to a traffic light
repair work at Tesco's junction.
Sister Rita could not stop
talking about how green everything looked, under a beautiful blue sky.
Reminded her of her childhood home in County Cork Ireland. Passing
Penicuik House and estate we reached St. Mungo's, spot on our planned
We met Penicuik Hunter & Lass, William
Brown and Kerry Wilson, on arrival and were piped into the church by.
Jim Macleod, dressed in full kilt and pipers regalia. Gordon MacDonald
related the history of both St. Mungo's and the old St. Kentigern
churches, to Sister Rita, which the film crew captured in the bright
sunlight. The clouds were forming and the plan moved on to the formal
proceedings in the church hall.
Not a moment to soon as a
flash storm and flood hit Penicuik during the presentation. Simon, the
film sound engineer thought he had a fault on his recording equipment,
picking up interference. Turned out to be the drumming of hailstones on
the hall roof, and the sound of 4 inches of flood water rushing down
Kirkhill Road. The hall vestibule and toilets flooded as water poured
through the front door and spouted up through the washbasin drains.
Wells explained why he started the Food Facts and Friend. Having
himself fallen on hard times. With no money, benefits or help for
housing or food for his wife and children he turned to the Christian
church for help. They provided immediate respite and
guided and supported him to secure a roof over his head and food for
This gave Mark the determination to help others,
without judgement, finding themselves in a similar situation. He has
run several operations, with the latest Food Facts,and Friends project with wife Grace,
Jill Kane, and David Bennett being the most ambitious.
than a foodbank, the team offer facts to help people gain the
support services in the community that they need, be it social or financial.
The friendship they also offer builds trust with the people and
families they help. Working with Midlothian Council they are the
only team in Penicuik offering this walk in off the street level
of support to the needy in our community.
told the audience a brief history of the church, and Lass Kerry Wilson
provided the history of the Hunter and Lass annual event. Kris Chapman
told us about his work as a champion of community support
organisations, both for young people and local residents falling on
difficult times. He wished the venture well and offered his ongoing
Sister Rita then cut the ribbon to formally open the
centre, after which we enjoyed a lunch, prepared by the FFF team. She
then spent time circulating and talking to the lunch table members,
before it was time to head back to the station and her return to
Both the Food Facts an Friends team, Sister Rita
and Max learned a lot about each other's operations and a strong bond
between the two groups has been made. An open invitation to visit
was made and we look forward to the FFF team introducing some new
activities in their ongoing quest to help those in difficulty. St.
Mungo's is proud to support the venture, what true Christian outreach
into our community is all about.
of food from local shops in Penicuik are used in the food parcels. You
can support the venture through donations of food or cash, every Monday
and Friday from 10.00am to 2.00pm in the church hall. You can
also meet Mark on a Sunday morning in St. Mungo's church
Hunter William Brown and Sister Rita listen to the speeches
Thanking the Piper
Hug from Sister Rita before she departs on her way back to Manchester
Updated - 12 June 2016