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National Committee for Relief in Belgium
26th Apr 1916 "A year ago the National Committee for Relief in Begium was formed and issued its first appeal to the British Empire. The total of donations received from April 27th 1915 to April 26th 1916, amounted to £1,637,714 2s 3d. The only expenses deducted from this amount are £27 3s 1d. These are Bank charges on out-of-town cheques. £1,600,00 has already been paid to the neutral Commission and has been or is being expended in food for the destitute Belgians in that part of Belgium occupied by Germany.
The Exceutive Council have adpoted the method of transferring to the Commission by means of cheques for £100,00. These cheques having been handed in about every three weeks, the Committee's income having averaged over £31,000 per week throughout the year.
Of the total received to April 26th, only £415,511 was received from the United Kingdom, the balence being subscribed by the British Dominions and Colonies overseas. The Government and people of New South Wales, Australia, have alone contributed £419,469 and are continuing to contribute over £30,000 every month. The largest amounts recived from the Counties during the year are £92,317 from the County of London, including the City of London; £59,731 from the West Riding of Yorkshire....
The Executive Committee are glad to be able to report that during the year not one case of illegal or irregular collecting has been reported to the fund. Thus unusual immunity from an abuse suffered by almost all charitable organisations is attributed to a rigourous adherence to the system of authorising no public collections unless they are conducted or approved by the Lord Lieutenant of the County, or by the Lord Mayor, Mayor or Chairman of Urban or Rural District Councils. The self-imposed restrictions involved by this method of collection has probably prevented the Fund from reaching larger proportions, buy the Executive venture to thing that their policy is justified by the elimination of irregularities and by the creation of a sense of local responsibility.
For the purpose of assisting the efforts throughout the Empire, the Exectutive have distributed over four and half million pamphlets and leaflets; nearly a million Belgian Flags, 185,000 posters; 200,00 medialions of King Albert, besides thousands of collecting books and cards.... Special collectiosn were organised throughout the Emopire for King Albert's Fete Day on November, 15th with an impressive service at St Paul's Cathedral. Small subscription envelopes were placed on 1,700,000 British dinner tables last Christmas Day and were not returned empty. Public meetings have been held throughout the country .... The hands at hundreds of factories have been addressed and practically every minister of religion has been asked to make a collection on behalf of the Fund, while a large number of Flag Days have been arranged in towns and villages....
In closing this report it must be pointed out that although the need in Belgium is greater than ever the income of our Committee is decreasing. At the risk of seeing ungrateful your Exceutive must urge those who have already worked so well, to work even harder. There is overwhelming evidence to prove that of the benevolence of the British Empire slackens, the suffering of the three million who are destitute and oppressed in Belgium will be tragically intensified. Your Exectutive Council earnestly trust that strenuous efforts will be made to avert this misery."
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Those known to have served with National Committee for Relief in Belgium during the Great War 1914-1918.
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