Emma's bid to help girls off the streets

AT just 21 most young women are concentrating on other things. But for one young woman raising more than £5,000 to help vulnerable young women on the streets of Ipswich took over her life for five months.

James Marston

AT just 21 most young women are concentrating on other things.

But for one young woman raising more than £5,000 to help vulnerable young women on the streets of Ipswich took over her life for five months.

Today JAMES MARSTON ask Emma Brown why.

SHE'S already been praised for her efforts but Emma Brown isn't really that keen on the limelight.

Amid protests of the fuss being made over her she tells her story quietly confidently, showing a maturity beyond her years.

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She said: “I was moved by the plight of prostitutes in Ipswich at the time of the killings. I wanted to help if I could.”

The former Ipswich School student, currently studying psychosocial sciences at the University of East Anglia, lives in leafy and peaceful Fonnereau Road, less than a mile from the town's red light district.

She said: “I didn't think much about prostitutes before but I realised that they were normal people similar to me who were my age and who had fallen into a life blighted by drugs that they could not escape.”

Reading about the Somebody's Daughter appeal in the Evening Star, Emma was spurred into action.

She said: “I was living in Ipswich at the time and I was moved by what was going on. It was everywhere on the news and people from other countries were phoning up asking about it. It was a big thing at the time.

“I thought Somebody's Daughter was a good idea. It is a good idea to provide a safe place and to try to make sure what happened in the winter of 2006 doesn't happen again.”

Using her old school as a venue, Emma began to go about organising a charity auction to raise money to go towards the appeal.

She said: “I'm not sure where I got the idea for a charity auction from. I think I had seen it on The Apprentice and I thought it would be a quick way of raising some money.”

E-mailing and writing to more than 1,000 firms and organisations Emma said she started organising the event in October 2007.

She said: “I was determined to do something so I wrote to about 1,000 companies asking them to help with auction prizes. I pestered them for help. The response was slow and I had about nine prizes for the first three months then suddenly I was getting offers of help every day.

“I'm not sure what happened but people suddenly responded. I was very relieved. I thought I might have to cancel it but in the end we had about 72 prizes. We had all sorts of things from a haircut, jewellery, sunglasses, a Lotus experience, it was a complete mixture.”

After setting a date Emma had to sell tickets to the auction, organise catering and publicise the event.

She said: “I managed to get on BBC Radio Suffolk and had stories in the Evening Star. I even did door to door selling and in the end we sold about 70 tickets.”

During the evening Emma's dad Tony kept a running total.

She said: “When dad said it was more than £5,000 I couldn't believe it. It was brilliant. It is going towards the safe house and it will be great to see the result.”

Now in her final year at university, Emma said she hoped to go into event management as a future career.

She said: “Now I want to do it for a living which is great as I didn't know what I wanted to do before. It was well worth all the effort. I'd definitely do something like it again though at the moment I'm focusing on my degree.”