A VILLAGE fundraising group which has raised half a million pounds for charity in its 50-year history held an emotional send off at its last-ever event.

After helping charitable causes worldwide since 1968 Kenningtgon Overseas Aid announced this year that it would wind down due to its ageing committee and the death of a long-serving member.

The group's biggest fundraiser was Kennington and District United Choirs  and its director Trevor Cowlett who was the organisations Honorary Life President.

To mark the send-off the group held a Golden Gala Night celebration at the village centre, Kennington, on Saturday night.

Sylvia Vetta, joint-chairman, praised the event and the turnout but said it was an emotional occasion.

She said: “Halcyon Leonard and I have been joint chairmen in this fiftieth and final year and we felt a heavy responsibility organising the final golden event.

“It was an emotional evening and one those who were there are not likely to forget.”

She added that organising the final 50th event was particularly poignant as it came two years after the death of Rebecca Allison who was the group’s secretary and who was instrumental in founding the initial Gala Nights 16 years ago.

Mrs Vetta said: “Organising this one without her was not easy. In the middle we showed a film of mezzo soprano Rebecca performing.

“I was anxious about it but on the night it felt absolutely right. It was as if she were with us and gave the evening her approval.”

The group’s final project which was celebrated on the night was for charity Tools for Self-Reliance which aims to help young women in Northern Ghana avoid child marriage by becoming economically active.

Treasurer Hugh Fleming handed over a cheque for more than £26,000 to the group at the Gala.

Speaking of the emotional climax to the evening Mrs Vetta said: “The evening ended with us all joining hands and singing For Auld Lang Syne.

“We won’t forget this emotional but golden farewell to a unique organisation. We believe Kennington is the only village to have connected in this way to 25 countries in 4 continents. We have even influenced the policy of three African governments – not bad for a not-wealthy village in Oxfordshire.”

Kennington Overseas Aid was founded in 1968 by the three Kennington churches, with a view to helping those less fortunate than themselves.