Trowbridge’s renowned community event will take place in the wake of National Volunteers Week, the nation’s chance to recognise impressive contributions made by millions of volunteers across the UK each June.
Main image Dr Andrew Steele with Liz Foster, who helps at the summer fete, and the Mayor of Trowbridge, Deborah Halik
Andrew has been noted for his creativity, generosity and commitment to MAF’s humanitarian work, and his sausages are known and loved by many in the local community.
Andrew has raised thousands for the charity and has been a devoted fundraiser and volunteer for MAF since the 1980s, when he met midwifery heroine Joy Bath. Ms Bath, who spoke highly of MAF’s aviation services in isolated places, sadly died of an AIDS-related disease while offering her medical skills to help women in Africa.
After her death, Andrew decided to regularly support MAF through his family run Commercial Arts business Steele Signs. Suffering a life-threatening illness in 2004, Andrew took early retirement, and his business is now run by his son Gareth.
Although it has taken him years to recover, Andrew’s volunteering efforts with MAF have helped rebuild his stamina and provide a focus during later life. Along with his wife Lynn, Andrew regularly gives hours of his time to promote MAF’s work across the South West – visiting hundreds of community groups, churches and businesses to raise awareness and support for the cause. And his retirement hobby of sausage-making has now branched out to become a large family event – and yet another opportunity to support MAF.
Andrew’s now famous bangers – which he prepares with his grandchildren at his home in Trowbridge – were enjoyed by Mayor Deborah Halik in 2017. Each year, they prepare at least 32 yards of sausages (the equivalent length of 3 red buses) and 75lbs of burgers (the equivalent weight of 3 TV sets) for the summer barbeque. The grand draw at the fete raises around £1,000, which is split between MAF and a local cause.
The Mayor of Trowbridge, Counsellor Deborah Halik said: ‘I was delighted to meet Andrew Steele at the church fete last year, and I can honestly say the barbeque treats were delicious and pretty healthy with such a high, good quality meat content. I was pleased to discover it was all in aid of Mission Aviation Fellowship, as there are so many people suffering unnecessarily in underdeveloped parts of the world, for want of help that we take for granted in the UK.’
Reflecting on 14 years of voluntary service, Andrew said: ‘It’s lovely to tell my grandchildren about MAF when they come over to help prepare for the fete – they always seem to ensure their sleepovers coincide with a sausage-making session!
'Andrew is one of hundreds of volunteers across the UK who give their time to serve MAF in creative ways. Andrew’s ongoing support is showing what it means to serve the local community – what MAF and many other charities are all about.’ Kevin Crook, Head of MAF in the Community
‘MAF is a wonderful charity, and my volunteering has helped give me a focus. I’ve been privileged to meet many generous people and tell them the practical impact of what MAF does. One of my highlights was meeting a young Bath University student, who went on to become an MAF pilot. We still follow her journey now as she flies planes in Chad. I would recommend volunteering to anyone – and pray that many more people would support MAF’s vital cause.’
Kevin Crook, Head of MAF in the Community is pleased to work alongside dedicated volunteers like Andrew. Kevin said: ‘Andrew is one of hundreds of volunteers across the UK who give their time to serve MAF in creative ways. Andrew’s ongoing support has not only impacted individuals, but he is showing what it means to serve the local community – what MAF and many other charities are all about.’