Registered Charity No. 278892
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The Anglo-Hellenic League
The Hellenic Centre
16-18 Paddington Street
London W1U 5AS
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Note: Although the Anglo-Hellenic League is a member society of the Hellenic Centre, and has a post-box at the Hellenic Centre, it is not affiliated with the Hellenic Community Trust or the Hellenic Centre in any other way. If you would like to contact the Hellenic Centre, you will find information here. We regret that we are unable to forward messages to the Hellenic Centre.
Dedicated to promoting Anglo-Greek understanding and friendship, through charitable and cultural work.
Next event in the League's Cultural Programme 2019
Author Sofka Zinovieff will give a talk for us on 2 April. Click here for details. Free; but booking essential!
"Albania Overboard" raises £33,000 for The Smile of the Child through The Anglo-Hellenic League
On 8 September, ‘Albania Overboard’ 2018 saw 58 people from eight countries successfully swim the Corfu Channel. This was the third time that Nick Cookson and Nick Lemis had organised a swim in aid of the Greek charity, The Smile of the Child. In total, the 2018 swim raised £33,136.67 through The Anglo-Hellenic League and has proven to be by far the most successful of the swims to date.
The biggest challenge was organising immigration. Since Albania is outside the EU, all visitors are required to pass through customs in Saranda and there really is no precedent set for an event like this. As a result of the co-operation on both sides of the channel, especially Auron Tare and his wife Nancy in Albania and the team from A1 yachting at the Gouvia marina (Corfu), special arrangements were made. The Greek and Albanian coastguards were also very co-operative and instrumental in the event’s success. The Smile of a Child is well respected in Corfu and there was much enthusiasm from locals to help.
Transport was another issue. The only commercial vessel that crosses the Corfu channel is an Albanian hydrofoil which only has permission to drop passengers off at the port of Saranda, a 30-minute bus drive away from the swim starting point. Fortunately, a number of Corfu residents offered to ferry swimmers over using their private boats which solved the problem. This not only meant we saved costs that could go to The Smile of the Child but also made the experience for all the participants far more enjoyable. It may, however, prove to limit the scale of any event in the future.
At around 9.30am, the swimmers departed Albania and took between 45 and 75 minutes to complete the course. Three ferries passed through the strait during the swim but were efficiently guided round the back of the swim pack by the Greek coast guard.
All swimmers arrived safely in San Stefano (Corfu) and regrouped that evening for a dinner and dance at the taverna at Kerasia. Jordanis Tsombanakis from the Charity gave a rousing and emotional speech thanking us all. Moreover, paintings by the children were handed out to all the swimmers as their way of saying thank you.
Feedback from the all the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with most asking whether they could take part in a 2019 event. We are still evaluating the optimal frequency , but given this year’s success we are considering doing it again next year. We should have a final decision by Christmas. We are extremely grateful to The Anglo-Hellenic League for enabling us to raise money in this way, and we would hope to maintain the relationship for future events.
Nick Cookson and Nick Lemis
ATTICA FIRES APPEAL 2018 RAISES £10,000
On 29 July, the Anglo-Hellenic League launched an appeal to its members and supporters to
contribute funds to help communities affected by the devastating wildfires in East Attica,
The League has worked closely with Desmos, a not-for-profit organization based in Athens,
which acts as an intermediary between donors and charitable organisations in need,
supporting a range of causes and vulnerable groups, including emergency response and
We are pleased to announce that, thanks to the generosity of our members and supporters,
the League will make a grant of £10,000 (= €11,200 approx.) to help the affected
communities. The League expresses its gratitude to all who have contributed so generously
to this appeal.
With this help from the League, Desmos is planning the reconstruction and renovation of four
playgrounds and three adjacent basketball courts in Mati and Neos Voutzas, at the heart of
the area most severely afflicted. These playgrounds have either been completely destroyed or
have been rendered unusable by the tragic fires.
Playgrounds in public spaces provide vital places for children to meet, play, interact, exercise,
and develop a wide range of skills in safe and controlled conditions. With children at their
centre, neighbourhoods and communities can form and bond. Against an extensive backdrop
of burnt trees and houses, the Marathon communities are in immediate need of these positive
elements, manifested in safe and beautiful spaces where children, families and communities
John Kittmer, Chair of the Anglo-Hellenic League, said:
“The many friends of Greece in the UK were profoundly shocked by the summer fires in Attica.
Our successful appeal will make a difference to the lives of those affected. I am very grateful
to our members and supporters for their generous contributions. Solidarity between British
and Greek people remains strong.”
Alexia Katsaounis President of Desmos, said:
"We would like to congratulate the Anglo-Hellenic League's swift response to the East Attica
emergency and we are deeply honoured by its choice to entrust Desmos for a truly
impactful project. The reconstruction of the fire-afflicted area's playgrounds will create a
positive narrative of regeneration at the heart of this tragedy.”
31 October 2018