Stocki and Tie


Saturday November 30 - 10.30am to 2pm

Fitzroy, 77 University Street, Belfast BT7 1HL

(use the Queens University car park at the top of Botanic Avenue as the Church car park will be used as a car wash)


I had the privilege of marrying Phil and Kathryn Cairnduff yesterday. It was wonderful having Gareth Maclean sharing the service with me and when Gareth suggested he never wore a clerical collar and we should wear a shirt and tie, I panicked. Tie? 

I then remembered that my daughter was making ties out of Arua purchased African fabric for an upcoming craft sale and I didn’t only have a tie but a promotional opportunity. 

I have blogged before about my consternation in the summer of 2015 when my wife, Janice, discovered the Arua fabric market. Arua is a town on the north western edge of Uganda. Our Church, Fitzroy, funded a primary school, Onialeku, on the outskirts of that town. 

It was a blessing or a curse, depending who you were speaking to, that we had to pass that market every day on the way to and from our school. Janice loved to stop and get lost in the vast array of colour and therefore options. I was a little exasperated at the number of pieces of this African fabric that Janice bought. What was she going to do with it? How much will be just left lying around the house? What a waste!

Five years later and I am of course eating my words. With a sewing machine, and the help of the other crafters in Fitzroy, my daughter Caitlin and Janice have made a wide array of crafts, cushions, table runners, tissue holders, notebook covers. That very first year they raised £800 was raised. It shut me up and made me a little more patient every time we stopped at the market!

Over the years we have watched the obsession with the Arua fabric market reach addictive heights but as Pastor David in Onialeku says, “Good addiction!” Over £5000 has now been raised!

On Saturday November 30th between 10.30am and 2pm you can call into Fitzroy and purchase some of the Arua fabric crafted. I know you’ll all want a tie! As I type, Janice and Caitlin are in the next room stitching. There will be many old favourites but new crafting ideas too.

Bottle gift bag

So, drop in for a coffee, get your car washed and buy a tie or a bottle gift bag or a cushion or… 

All proceeds are for a new Nursery School building at Onialeku in Arua. A good gift that is good for something. A piece of craft with a story.

See you there…



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