Josephine Gillespie And The “People’s Friend” Boats

Some readers will remember our feature from May, 2014, when we chatted to “People’s Friend” artist Josephine Gillespie about her campaign to help folk in her native Philippines. After the typhoon season had badly damaged the boats of fishing communities on an outlying island, Josephine decided to try to do what she could to help. She took on odd jobs here and there, and pledged all the money raised would go towards buying new boats for the islanders, so they could once again fish, work and commute.

We put an appeal in the magazine, and you responded with a generosity that took Josephine – and us – by surprise! We raised thousands of pounds, and were able to buy a number of boats – and she even had some spare to help with school supplies.

Josephine got in touch with us recently to tell us that she’d paid the islands a visit to see where your money had gone, and sent back these fantastic photos taken by her sisters, Dara Coloso and Merci Gillespie.

Handing Out Goodies

Winter is typhoon season in the area, and whilst – thankfully – this year’s storms weren’t as devastating as those of two years ago, just under 50 people died in some of the more northerly islands. Josephine’s island was mercifully unharmed this time, and the boats you bought for the islanders are still helping the communities make a living.

The PF Boats

From Josephine and from us, thank you again for all your kind contributions and good wishes…

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.