CATHOLICS at St Mary Our Lady of Sorrows & St Philip Benzi in Fordingbridge, and Sacred Heart & St Therese of Lisieux in Ringwood are clubbing together to feed some of the hungriest people around the world.

Parishioners held an Irish evening to raise money for Catholic aid agency Cafod's Dig Deep campaign.

Guests were treated to a meal of steaming Irish stew and bread and Irish music and dancing with a caller. There was also an Irish themed quiz and raffle.

Prizes included an Irish teddy bear, a bottle of Baileys and a bottle of Irish whiskey.

Helen Eales, a parishioner at St Mary Our Lady of Sorrows and St Philip Benzi, said: “The atmosphere was lovely, improved by St Patrick’s Day and Ireland winning the Six Nations. It was all great fun.

“Our group always try to think of what would be a nice, interesting event for the parishes. Until we know that children around the world can go to bed with nutritious food in their bellies we will continue to do all we can to support them.

“It's a fact that one in eight people go hungry every day, not because there isn’t enough food but because of the way it is shared out between us. Everyone can do something to change that, and during Lent, we will all dig deep within ourselves and our pockets to find ways to tackle this injustice.”

Sierra Leone is one of the countries which will benefit from the funds raised. The West African country emerged from a decade of brutal civil war in 2002 and extreme poverty remains a major issue, especially during the annual 'hungry season'. With CAFOD’s support, families are transforming the former diamond mines, which fuelled the conflict, into fertile land so they can grow crops all year round.

CAFOD’s manager for Ringwood and Fordingbridge Lynda Mussell said: “Through Dig Deep people from Ringwood and Fordingbridge are making a difference.

“The money that grows from these events will help transform the lives of people living in poverty and CAFOD would like to thank them for all their support.”