Cornish comedian Johnny Cowling will mix comedy and crooning at Truro Cathedral at a fundraising concert for Romanian orphans on Sunday, September 3.

Funds raised from the concert will go to support the White Cross Mission and its work with orphanages in Romania, which first came to attention in Britain in 1990 when television images revealed the grotesque horror of children abandoned, neglected and forgotten under President Ceaucescu’s regime. Often shackled in the dark to their cots, cold, hungry and sore, they experienced heart-breaking starts to their young lives, and the survivors were so severely traumatised that many couldn’t walk or speak.

Canon Pat Robson was so shocked by these images that she set up the White Cross Mission, a Cornish charity that 25 years later is still actively supporting orphans in Romania by giving them a home, teaching and training.

She said: “Although many of the young people in Romania, who have been helped by the White Cross in the past, have been adopted or are now living independently in the rural communities and towns of Romania, there are still many others for whom the future looks decidedly bleak. Some have been so badly affected by the early years of neglect that they are likely to have to live in institutions for the rest of their lives. These institutions are now much cleaner and brighter and the young people are physically well looked after by care workers, but because of severe financial cuts and under-staffing they have nothing to do all day except to stand around and wait for the next meal. The boredom this generates leads to terrible frustration and sometimes violence.”

Johnny Cowling and his wife Sarah visited Romania in 2012 to see for themselves the work the charity was doing and were so moved by what they saw that they agreed to do what they could to help.

The mission is trying to raise £13,500 this year to pay the salaries of four Romanian teachers to go into the orphanages for two hours each day and work with the youngsters who are too traumatised to find homes. The teachers' visits are now the highlight of the young people's day and the charity is anxious to find the money to keep the project going.

Canon Pat Robson said: “It is easy to give up on those for whom there is no obvious future, but every soul is precious and every person deserves a few moments of happiness in life. The hundreds of volunteers from Cornwall who have gone out to help over the years have all been people who believe wholeheartedly that, in the face of such terrible neglect, we can't just stand by and do nothing.”

Johnny Cowling will be keeping the audience entertained at Truro Cathedral, with a programme of gospel songs made famous by Elvis Presley and his own brand of humour, on Sunday, September 3, at 7pm.

Tickets cost £10, or £7.50 for under-19s, at the Hall For Cornwall Box Office, on 01872 262466, or online at