IT is with great joy that I congratulate Steven Lancaster on his new position as the Herald Beggar-in-Chief ("VW Polo Vivo up for grabs in Christmas Cheer Fund draw", September 6). Steven is no newcomer to charity work as he has been involved with the House of Resurrection and now Kingfisher FM.
In the past 14 years I have worked very closely with Rodney Gibson as his admin clerk, printing, licking stamps, counting the coins and standing in bank queues in the months before Christmas to bank the coins donated by the generous people of Port Elizabeth for this flagship of The Herald newspaper.
A lot of this job has been made easier with electronic banking, but the phone and the lists still continue to be endless.
This charity drive, which runs from July to January every year to give the extremely poor something to look forward to on Christmas Day, is more than 100 years old and has only worked in the Eastern Cape where the citizens of Port Elizabeth are known for their openhearted generosity.
In fact my whole family from my mother to my grandchildren have eagerly folded application forms and begging letters to companies, and licked stamps and then waited with bated breath to see what this year's total sum will be to bless the poor. It has been such an honour and a blessing to carry out this task. Rodney, having been the treasurer for nine years and then the Beggar-in- Chief for three years, and I have been humbled by our contact with the amazing people who carry out the dedicated job of looking after the poorest of the poor.
Our blessings and prayers go out to Steven as he carries the torch now to continue this very worthwhile endeavour and it is time to look to the youth of South Africa to get involved with lifting up the needy of our beautiful country.
Caroline Gibson, Port Elizabeth