Guild gifts

LADIES from St John's Guild in Carluke are trying to make life a bit easier for hospital patients and children in Malawi.

They have donated cash and gifts from themselves, the congregation and friends.

Receiving cheques for 100 were Mrs Georgina McMillan from East Kilbride, who is involved in a project to help those suffering in Malawi, and local MSP Karen Gillon who is currently in Malawi.

The money given to Mrs McMillan will help patients in a hospital. She was the guest speaker at the Guild's recent meeting and brought along slides of the conditions there.

''She showed us all the slides and told us what the money would be used for,'' said Guild secretary Mattie Dick. ''The slides were heart-breaking.''

Money given to Mrs McMillan had gone to provide desperately needed new

hospital equipment.

She told the Guild that when she had first gone to Malawi, women gave birth on a wooden table. And, at times, there were three babies in one incubator.

She also showed slides of some of the donations — one company had given sandals, to help protect children against worms from streams which could get into their feet and infect them.

Clothes from the Barras had also been donated.

''There was one young child in a Newcastle top, and she said he would probably wear it until it fell off his back,'' said Mattie.

The Guild, with supporters and friends, and Anne Forrest of Choices, have been busy knitting and sorting out baby clothes and blankets, and these will be dispatched to Malawi and passed on to children and families in need.

The 200 recently handed over came from Guild funds. At its AGM the group also chooses a project for the coming year.

''We think we are going to make this our project,'' added Mattie.

Two days after visiting the Guild, Karen Gillon left for Malawi.

Just before flying out, she told the Gazette: ''I am very grateful for this donation.''

Karen is chair of a cross party group on Malawi. She has visited before and, this time, is leading a Parliamentary delegation there.

She and her colleagues will be running training workshops on gender-based violence.

They will also be looking at ways in which the Malawians can hold their government — partly presidential and partly parliamentary — to account.

The Guild money will help with an orphanage at Blantyre, where the infants frequently have HIV or TB.

''I will be visiting it while I am there,'' said Karen.

She has also raised 2000 through a sponsored walk.

''It is an infant transit home,'' she explained. The money is to support some of these children, to get back into normal family life.''