Grannies’ first Angel Tea a sold-out fundraiser

On Saturday, November 2nd, the Grannies of Saugeen Shores held their first ‘Angel Tea’ in support of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign begun by Canadian diplomat, Stephen Lewis.
From jewellery to art sales in the past, the Saugeen Grannies ‘Angel Tea’ initiative held at the seniors’ Chantry Centre in Southampton was a sold-out event.
Following Stephen Lewis and daughter, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis’ visit to Africa, they launched the ‘Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ campaign in 2006.  It was a response to the crisis faced by African grandmothers who were, and are, struggling to care for children orphaned by the Aids epidemic.

Canadian grandmothers stepped up immediately, evolving into a movement to raise funds for the campaign.  Groups began to mobilize, raising funds through concerts, community dinners, jewellery and art sales. The campaign has now spread to the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

All funds raised go directly to the grandmothers of Africa, for things such as medical care, housing, school fees and uniforms, in a campaign that has become a global sisterhood.

In Saugeen Shores, Margitta and John Lange began 10 years ago to help the cause by initiating the ‘Grannies jewellery sale’ in the community.  What began in their garage soon spread to the Cruiser classic car nights held in Southampton on Thursday evenings during the summer.  Over the 10 years, the Grannies have raised some $90,000.  Elaine Palmer, who emceed the tea, said that the goal is now to raise the fund to $100,000 for the campaign.


                                                     Tables filled with angels

Among the many angels of every description that were donated to be sold to raise funds, Deb Willy also brought in part of her hand-crafted angel collection.  A shy, tiny, elderly lady, Willy has created some of the most beautiful artistic cross-stitch creations of angels to be found anywhere.

Willy had an auspicious beginning to creating her collection.  “I lost my sister at the age of 37.  Some years later, when I was 37, I had major back surgery and awoke in the same room in which my sister had passed and felt ‘something’.  Later, I went to a wool shop and while there saw a pattern of an angel reaching out to a small child.  It was the ‘Angel of Mercy’ but, more importantly, it was like my sister reaching out to me.  I bought every pattern in the store and began my collection of angels.  While in a reclined position due to my surgery, I began work on the angels, working 16 hours a day for up to 10 weeks for each.”

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Today, there are 25 angels in her collection and each has a story and each represents a special moment in time to Willy.  The intricate needle and bead work is an example of not only the patience that each must have taken, but also the artistry when it came to the shading involved.

                           Grace Reany

Guest speaker and local artist Grace Reany also created a beautiful water colour painting of an angel that was the featured item of the silent auction.  In addition, there were larger wooden angels perfect for the garden or entranceway.

A final total raised has not yet been determined.