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Christian Aid condemns dating agency stunt

Wednesday 7 December 2011 

Christian Aid has condemned claims that it is to receive donations from a ‘win a date with the Virgin Mary’ charity auction organised by an online dating agency.

The dating agency offers visitors to its website the chance to bid for an evening out with a female and male member of its clientele who are shown dressed as Mary and Joseph in a nativity scene. All money raised, the agency claimed earlier this week, was to go to Christian Aid.

When challenged by Christian Aid, which said it had not sanctioned the use of its name in connection with the auction, a PR firm working for the agency said permission had come from a person who it transpired works for a US charity of the same name.

Checks by Christian Aid with its US namesake revealed that staff there also knew nothing of the charity auction, and would not have allowed their name to be used. The person named by the PR agency was the US organisation's web master. 

Anne Phipps, fundraising head for the UK charity Christian Aid, said today: 'Christian Aid does not support or endorse the auction organised by the dating website.

'We were certainly not informed that it was taking place and had not agreed to be a beneficiary. We thoroughly object to our name being used in connection with a stunt of this nature and will not accept any of the money that it may raise.

'Each Christmas, our supporters raise many thousands of pounds through a wide variety of events. Anyone wanting to donate to our work with some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world is urged to visit our website www.christianaid.org.uk.'



For more information please contact Andrew Hogg on 0207 523 2058 or ahogg@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk