Letchworth woman’s appeal to help Johannesburg church robbed at gunpoint after own ordeal

Marléne Pike, pictured during a visit to South Africa, is appealing for help after a gunpoint robber

Marléne Pike, pictured during a visit to South Africa, is appealing for help after a gunpoint robbery back home. - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth woman is appealing for donations to help a cash-strapped church in Johannesburg rocked by an armed robbery.

Marléne Pike, who moved from South Africa to the UK 13 years ago, said she was left devastated when she heard the news her friends at the Imvana Trinity Methodist Church had guns thrust in their neck and stomach before thieves made off with £800 worth of stolen cash.

Marléne, who knitted jumpers about 18 months ago for babies diagnosed with HIV through the church, said: “I’m in shock. I was brought up with these people.

“I don’t know how they are going to pull together after this.

“How could the robbers do this to other poor people in the community?”

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The attack resonates with the 72-year-old, as the horrific ordeal echoes a scary encounter that caused her to leave South Africa for a new life in England.

The retired fundraiser was held at gunpoint 15 years ago while she was about to take her son, who was nine at the time, to school.

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She said: “I was in the car in my driveway when suddenly I had a gun in my face.

“A man was trying to get me out of the car. My glasses broke and I was bleeding.

“It was due to this incident that I decided enough was enough and I moved with my family to the UK.

“Gun crime is turning into an every day occurrence there.”

Marléne initially settled in Baldock, then seven years ago moved over to Letchworth. She said that it was a struggle to adjust to life in the UK as she missed her friends and the weather, but added: “People don’t know how lucky they are living in this country.

“The NHS is an amazing service and the transport here is fantastic.”

If you would like to make a donation, or find out how to help the church, contact Marléne by emailing pike122@btinternet.com.

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