Book launched to support HIV work

A COLLECTION of poetry by an Ipswich writer will raise money for vital work to stop the spread of HIV between mothers and their unborn children.

A COLLECTION of poetry by an Ipswich writer will raise money for vital work to stop the spread of HIV between mothers and their unborn children.

The book is the fifth to be published by teaching assistant Elaine Coltham, who has been writing in her spare time to help charities since 2000.

Mrs Coltham, 52, of Mersea Road, said: “Writing is something I enjoy, and if I can make a small difference to someone that needs help then that is something I want to do.

“I decided to support Tearfund's campaign with my latest book, and in particular their Work a Miracle campaign, a big part of which is educational work to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS from mothers to their unborn children.

“There are so many children around the world now who have lost both of their parents to AIDS that I desperately wanted to do something positive to help raise as much money as I could.”

For each copy of the book sold, £3 of the £7 cover price will go to the charity.

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As well as spending a lot of time writing, Mrs Coltham, who works at St Matthew's Primary School, finds time to volunteer with Tearfund in Ipswich where she helps to organise fundraising events.

She received help and inspiration while putting the collection together from daughters Georgina, 29, and Lizi, 19, as well as granddaughter Alenya, three, who all provided illustrations.

The book is Mrs Coltham's fourth poetry collection, and she has also published a children's novel and has another one in the works.

The novel, titled Aunty Relda's Journey, tackles the issue of bullying and money from sales went to the Children's Society.

Other good causes that have benefited from almost £2,000 raised by her writing endeavours include East Anglia's Children's Hospices and the Salvation Army.

Mrs Coltham is already planning the further adventuress of Aunty Relda, which will be the subject of her next book.

Anyone who wants to order a copy for £7 + £1 postage can visit, or send a cheque to 14 Mersea Road, Ipswich, IP3 OPQ.

Have you got a novel idea to raise money for charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

TEARFUND has set a target of reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS around the world by the year 2015.

A big part of this is the Work a Miracle campaign, which will receive funds from the sales of Mrs Coltham's latest book.

One of the campaign's aims is to improve education to cut down on the transmission of the virus between mothers and their unborn children.

Ipswich senior volunteer for the charity, Val Dufour, said: “In developing countries, and Africa in particular, a lot of unborn children catch the disease from their mothers.

“We work to improve education, support and the provision of drugs - a lot of things that you get as standard in this country, but not in poorer countries.

“The treatment itself is cheap and easily available but in the developing world a lot of people do not even know that they are HIV positive.

“I know Elaine well and she is a wonderful supporter of Tearfund - she is an amazing lady with so much love and compassion.”

Visit for further information.

Maybe You Wore The Red Ribbon

by Elaine Coltham

One day it came

Like a storm invading

A perfect day

Fresh from dawn.

And with its arrival

A piece of the world

Lost innocence forever.

For it infected the people

Tainting the nations

Consuming young and old alike

As it fragmented families

Like some fatal eraser

With the power to destroy.

They called it AIDS

The tip of an iceberg

We dared not mention it

Lest we were caught

In it's frightening snare

Did we view them like Lepers?

Did fear consume our compassion?

Did it command the same pity?

As a famine or flood

Maybe you wore the red ribbon

Then forgot for another year

For in its wake it claimed an icon

And we mourned the loss

When his voice fell silent.

Could we ever have imagined?

The impact of this virus

Of children left behind

To carry the burden on, inside

Do we see now, do we care?

In this world of growing distraction

When a hand is outstretched

And our love is required.

See the child, the young mother

A grandmother, a brother

See the person, their need

Not what's carried inside

Give them hope in their darkness

And their children a future

Fresh vision for tomorrow

And a heart of compassion,

From within our own lives.