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Christian Aid has thanked the Newtownards volunteer committee for raising over £500,000 towards its work over the last thirty years.

The Newtownards Christian Aid committee organises an annual Christmas sit out in Conway Square, alongside many other successful fundraising events throughout the year, to support the overseas development charity. The 30th anniversary of their fundraising efforts saw the volunteers reach the major milestone of raising over half a million pounds for its work.

Rosamond Bennett, Chief Executive of Christian Aid Ireland said: 'I am incredibly impressed and inspired by the commitment and passion shown by the Newtownards committee and all who support their tremendous fundraising activities.

'Christian Aid is so fortunate and grateful to have such wonderful supporters and, having just returned from South Sudan, I have seen how vitally needed this support is and how much of a life-changing difference this generosity is making.

'When I was in South Sudan, I described to the people there, what our supporters were doing to help raise awareness and funds for them, such as the annual sit out. They were amazed that people they had never met would go to such efforts to help them. I know that it hasn’t always been easy, or warm, or dry, sitting out collecting donations, and we really appreciate all that they have done and hopefully will continue to do for those in desperate need.'

John Doherty, Newtownards Christian Aid Committee Secretary said: 'One of the many positive things about Newtownards is the way that volunteers from different churches come together. Currently 12 churches in and around the town share in fundraising activities during the year to support development projects. These include Christian Aid Week, an inter-church table quiz each February and the recent three-day Christmas sit out in the town centre.'

Christian Aid Ireland’s Christmas appeal asked the people of Northern Ireland to help the charity reach more people in places like South Sudan, Burkina Faso and Malawi, who are facing hunger and food shortages.