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£3000 toy donation to Ipswich Hospital is the biggest to date for Woodbridge fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 08:25 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:25 23 November 2017

Gemma Reed give their annual donation of toys to the hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Gemma Reed give their annual donation of toys to the hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Fundraisers have donated more than £3,000 of new toys to Ipswich Hospital just in time for the festive season.

This year’s haul was the biggest to date for the annual donation organised by Woodbridge mum, Gemma Read to the playroom in the Bergholt Children’s Ward.

This was the fifth event for Gemma who started the initiative after her daughter was taken to the hospital with pneumonia, aged two.

She said: “It was an awful time for me. I was quite distressed and so was she. We came into the playroom and it was a relief for us.

“The playroom team were saying they were always in need of fundraisers.

Gemma Read give their annual donation of toys to the hospital. Left to right, Sabrina Mitchell and Gemma Read. Picture: GREGG BROWNGemma Read give their annual donation of toys to the hospital. Left to right, Sabrina Mitchell and Gemma Read. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Once I had done it the first year I just carried on.”

The toys had been stored around Gemma’s house with vans from the event’s sponsors, Samuel David construction, delivering them to the hospital.

The funds for the gift giving were raised at Seckford Golf Club back in September when Gemma hosted a diamond and denim-themed dinner and dance.

Nearly 100 people attended the event which also included a raffle and a charity auction.

Karen Jane Seymour from the hospital's playroom. Picture: GREGG BROWNKaren Jane Seymour from the hospital's playroom. Picture: GREGG BROWN

This year’s final total was £3,089, more than £800 extra raised from the previous year’s event. This made the night the most successful to date, a feat that surprised Gemma.

“I thought I would get £2,000,” said Gemma, “but then the auction just flew off with people bidding more and more.”

The star lot at the auction was a helicopter ride bought by friends Gareth Clement and James Hudson, who later donated it to a young girl with cystic fibrosis called Lexi-May Ingel.

Lexi-May took the ride over Woodbridge in October.

Sabrina Mitchell and Gemma Read look over the haul at the children's playroom. Picture: GREGG BROWNSabrina Mitchell and Gemma Read look over the haul at the children's playroom. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Her mum Toni Newton said: “Lexi-May was so excited, her face was a picture. It was great to look down on where we live.

“She is such a brave little girl. She has to undergo physio four times a day and take lots of medication.”

Gemma has already got plans in place for next year’s event.

“Next year we are aiming for £5,000, that might be a bit ambitious but we are going to push ourselves.”

Eye surgery patient Harrison Buckle. Picture: Lauren De BoiseEye surgery patient Harrison Buckle. Picture: Lauren De Boise

The event will be a James Bond night at the Seckford Golf Club on August 11.

Many of Gemma’s friends have already booked their tickets. She said: “They may make it really easy. I don’t have to advertise.”

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