Minister does a hols lot of good
PUBLISHED: 13:11 06 October 2006 | UPDATED: 19:49 01 June 2010
A BAPTIST minister on holiday in Sri Lanka dreamed of helping a family which had lost everything in the tsunami and called on fellow hotel guests to turn his dream into reality. The Rev Graham Licence was so successful that the group was able to give the
A BAPTIST minister on holiday in Sri Lanka dreamed of helping a family which had lost everything in the tsunami and called on fellow hotel guests to turn his dream into reality.
The Rev Graham Licence was so successful that the group was able to give the family a new boat - and with it the means of earning a living.
The recently-appointed minister of Wisbech Baptist Church, in Hill Street, has just returned from Kalutara with his wife Sandie and friends.
It was a return visit, the first being two years ago just three months before the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004.
During their first holiday they made many friends and spent months waiting for news of them following the disaster.
"When we saw the pictures on the news we felt appalling. It affected people we knew and we couldn't find out if they were all right. It was almost 12 months before we got confirmation that they had survived, and it was a tremendous delight to find out they were OK."
When the couple returned they were given a warm welcome by local families who remembered them from their previous visit.
They were reunited with Suzi and Priantha Silva and their four children, whose home had been just 50 yards from the beach.
The Silva family lost their home and boat when the tsunami struck.
The Rev Licence and his friend Roy Speller found out that a new boat would cost about £375 or 80,000 rupees. With an average income of about 500 rupees a day, it was an impossible task for Priantha.
The Rev Licence appealed to other Saga guests to find the money. In just two days, the money was raised and the order put into a local boatbuilder.
The boat was painted with he names 'Saga 1' and hotel initials 'TBH 1'. There was a presentation on the beach and the boat was blessed with a prayer and officially named.
SERVICE OF WELCOME
THE Rev Graham Licence was officially welcomed to Wisbech at a service on Saturday.
The service was conducted by the Rev Ian Bunce, regional minister for the Eastern Baptist Association. Speaker was Dr Raymond Brown, a former principal of Spurgeon's College, London.
The Rev Licence moved to Wisbech in August after being minister at Perry near Huntingdon for eight years.
He had previously been minister at Cherry Hinton, Gorleston, Burnham-on-Crouch and Chipping Norton.