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Margaret and Sandy Lindsay, Christian Aid legators, on their trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Margaret and Sandy Lindsay: the willpower to change lives

Published on 19 March 2021

Margaret and Sandy Lindsay from Larne, County Antrim visited Christian Aid’s projects in Malawi and were inspired to pledge a gift in their Will to Christian Aid.

Retired teachers Margaret and Sandy Lindsay have been supporting Christian Aid for over 30 years and make a donation every month by direct debit. In 1999, they were among a group of supporters to visit the charity’s projects in Malawi where one experience made a huge impact on them both:

We saw a large pool of dirty water, teaming with insects. It was a shock to hear that it was the only source of drinking water for the entire village. They showed us a stick hammered into the earth, marking the site of a new well, financed by Christian Aid.

The community was about to have a source of clean water, and the children would no longer be at risk of contracting water-borne diseases.

The villagers had formed a cooperative and each family was paying the equivalent of 3p a month into a fund to cover the costs of maintenance and repairs to the pumping mechanism. The villagers’ obligation to make this small payment stayed with Margaret and Sandy and when they returned to school, they began collecting copper coins in Christian Aid moneyboxes on their desks. Sandy continues:

“We explained to all our classes what we were doing and the importance of clean water which we take for granted. Pupils began to bring in any coppers they’d gathered. We led assemblies to emphasise this to other children. I would have lifted coppers off the corridors and, when questioned by pupils asking if I was badly paid, explained why I was doing this.”

In total, they raised £700 in copper coins.

We saw the impact of Christian Aid’s work and the difference it’s making. We don’t have any children, so it made sense to leave something to the causes that matter most to us.

Outside of school, Sandy and Margaret began sharing their stories from Malawi, giving talks to church and community groups to inspire others to support the charity’s work with the poor. They’d promised Christian Aid they would give talks for 2 years but it was 5 years before they eventually stopped, by which time they’d given almost 50 presentations.

Margaret explains their decision to leave a gift in their Will to Christian Aid: “That visit confirmed our belief in what Christian Aid is doing. We saw the impact of Christian Aid’s work and the difference it’s making. We don’t have any children, so it made sense to leave something to the causes that matter most to us.”

She credits the former minister of her church, First Larne Presbyterian, with sparking her interest in the work of Christian Aid:

“When Lambert McAdoo came to First Larne, he gathered a nucleus of Christian Aid supporters around him and began fundraising. When we joined the church, he encouraged us to become involved.”

For many years, they helped organise an annual sponsored walk in Larne, and every May during Christian Aid Week they collect house-to-house in the town. Is it their faith that motivates them? Margaret is unequivocal:

“As Christians, we are called to do this. I always remember that passage from the Bible: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”

Warm, energetic and fun-loving, Sandy and Margaret are an inspiration, sharing their teachers’ pension with their global neighbours, bringing hope to people living in poverty. They no longer stand at the front of a classroom each day, but Margaret and Sandy Lindsay have much to teach us all. 

You too can leave a lasting legacy by remembering Christian Aid in your Will.

If you would like information or have any queries, please contact Sarah Leeman by email on sleeman@christian-aid.org or find out more at our 'Gifts in Wills' portal.

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