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Rotarians Christmas party for underprivelaged kidsOn Sunday, December 15th the Estoi Casa do Povo held its annual Christmas Party for the underprivileged families in the parish. This year the local Freguesia unfortunately had no funds in their budget to help finance the festivities, so the staff at the Casa do Povo requested the assistance of the Rotary Club Estoi Palace International (RECPI).

Jaime Ferreira, Maria José Nicolau and Maria de Lurdes Pereira from the AOA with Steve Dackombe, Jan Sheppeard and Turea Spencer of The Algarveans Experimental Theatre.In early 2013, when the Algarveans Experimental Theatre group decided to perform the acclaimed stage show "Calendar Girls", the hunt began for a worthy cause.   This poignant play, written by Tim Firth, portrayed the ethos of the meaning of cancer to all those it touches, and the ingenious efforts of fund raising for a new sofa.  
Naturally, the theatre group sought to donate funds raised to help those suffering from this invasive disease, and the chosen charity had to be the Associação Oncológica do Algarve (AOA).

L to R: Salvador Goncalves, second in command of the Bombeiros Operations Team, Amavel Sousa, Treasurer of the Bombeiros Direction, Acácio Martins,  Vice President of the Bombeiros Direction, and Shirley Dunne, President of the Rotary Club Estoi Palace International.When the Humanitarian Association of Volunteer Firemen of São Brás de Alportel (Bombeiros) held their annual Christmas party on December 14th there was much to celebrate. On December 12th members of the Bombeiros and Ian Lowe of the Rotary Club Estoi Palace International (RCEPI) drove to Porto to receive delivery of a much needed new ambulance donated by RCEPI.

Father Christmas WalkLast Saturday, 7th December, 2013 more than one hundred Father Christmases took part in the second Armação de Pêra Father Christmas walk.

Sunshine and blue skies were the backdrop for the bright red Father Christmas suits.

Annual Shoebox campaignMany thanks to all who participated in the 9th Annual Shoebox Drive for the Elderly - more than one hundred and twenty filled shoeboxes will be delivered by Castelo de Sonhos to needy elderly people of Silves this Christmas. 

Special thanks go to Balaia Golf Club ( 2 members pictured),  and to the Central Ladies Algarve Lunch Club. 

For more information about Castelo de Sonhos please contact Celia Mossman on 282 332 665.

bingo2Following the well publicised Bingo gambling case in Albufeira where a number of people earlier this year were unwittingly involved in illegal gambling.

Tthe media, the Consulate, the local police, the tourist board and Safe Communities Algarve (SCA) received a number of enquiries about what exactly were the laws covering various gambling and gaming activities and whether or not these were legal.

Food banksIn keeping with its policy of supporting local charitable organisations, Almancil International Rotary Club AIRC) has donated €500 to the Banco Alimentar (food bank) based in Faro.   At a recent meeting of the club Susana Guerreiro (BA public image coordinator) spoke about the work of the food bank and the constant need for funds. It isn’t until someone like Susana explains just how much the food bank does that we can really appreciate the enormity of the problems, financial needs and logistics they face. 

Samaritans PurseDo I need to say just how amazing the people of Portugal are? This year another record was broken when no less than 1,924 Shoe Boxes, full of small gifts, have been sent to children living in poor situations and who would possibly not have a present at Christmas.  These simple gifts make a world of difference.  Please read on to see just how big that difference can be.

This week I had a letter from Jill Kinsey.  Many of you will know her.  She runs two Children’s Centres in Lesotho.

Jill wrote telling me the horrendous story of a little boy who had been brought to the centre at Pulane. His name was Semphiwe.