Darley Dale pensioner's jam and cakes raise thousands for human trafficking victims in Dominican Republic

A Darley Dale pensioner has raised thousands of pounds to support victims of human trafficking in the Caribbean by giving away cake to her neighbours, and hopes the whole community will help her raise even more this weekend.

By Ed Dingwall
Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:16 am

Great-grandma Shirley Godkin, 83, likes to be generous with her culinary talents and especially now she is surrounded by other retirees at Audley St Elphin's Park.

She said: “I’ve always loved baking and making jam, and often give it away to people who might be alone. There are lots of people here who can’t stand up, let alone bake. Now everyone knows me as the lemon curd lady.

“I’d never thought of taking money for it, but the first time someone insisted on paying I realised I could do something for charity. Now people slip little envelopes through my door when they want to give something back.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Shirley Godkin has been raising money for her granddaughter's charity which helps human trafficking victims.

It was easy to find a worthy cause , as Shirley’s granddaughter Katie had set up a charity to help women and children escape trafficking and exploitation in the Dominican Republic.

Katie, 34, started life in Darley Dale , attending St Elphin’s School, but her family later moved to Florida.

Having trained as an architect, she developed a sideline in humanitarian work designing homes for people hit by natural disasters – and that experience led her to set up her own organisation.

BRP offers victims shelter, education, security, legal aid, healthcare and employment support, including via its jewellery company Batey Girls.

Shirley is so keen to help the charity that when a fall forced her to cancel a cruise holiday two years ago, she donated the whole refund.

She said: “Katie’s so brave going into all these tragic situations and tackling people who are abusing girls. There was one case recently where she had to go to court with armed guards, but it helped get a man jailed for 15 years for exploiting his daughters.

“The jewellery business empowers them, and means they can take something beautiful from truly awful situations.”

People will be able to see for themselves on Saturday, August 14, when St Elphin’s hosts a summer fair for the whole community and Shirley will be there selling her cakes, jams and jewellery.

The events runs from 11am to 4pm, and visitors will also be able to explore stalls selling crafts, handmade gifts, food and a lunchtime barbecue.

General manager Fiona Gebert said: “It’s always a lovely atmosphere and after more than a year of restrictions on social gatherings, it means even more for the local community to come together again.

“We have beautiful gardens and it’s great to be able to share them with friends, family and people from the surrounding area for the day.”

The fair is free for anyone to attend but visitors must first complete a form at https://bit.ly/2VagsVb.

To learn more about the charity’s Shirley is supporting, go to www. thebrp.org and bateygirls.org.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together.” – Andrew Wakefield, editor.