Huge effort to help cyclone victims

RESTAURANT owners in Ipswich and Felixstowe have been thrilled with the success of special dinner nights they are holding to raise money for people struck by the devastating cyclone in Bangladesh.

RESTAURANT owners in Ipswich and Felixstowe have been thrilled with the success of special dinner nights they are holding to raise money for people struck by the devastating cyclone in Bangladesh.

The first two in the series have already raised thousands of pounds - and there is still time for people to book a place.

The events are part of the ABC Appeal launched by the area's Bangladeshi community and supported by a wide range of organisations, including companies, councils, banks, Ipswich Town, civic leaders and the police and media.

One of the main aims is to fund the complete reconstruction of one of the villages destroyed by the cyclone last November.

The events kicked off on Saturday with an International Buffet at The Brook Hotel, Orwell Road, Felixstowe.

Diners enjoyed an evening disco and colourful dancing by Bangladeshi dancers, as well as a raffle and auction, and authentic dishes and entertainment.

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Spokeswoman Leigh Hemmings said it had been a fabulous evening.

“It went really well and everyone was very, very pleased - it was great to see people having so much fun and it was a really nice time,” she said.

Both the raffle and auction had raised around £400 each, and there were donations of nearly £1,000. More money is still to come from ticket sales - more than 80 people attended.

The second event was at A Passage to India in Fore Street, Ipswich, on Monday and was also a great success - raising £1,416 to add to the £2,700 in donations and tips collected over the past few months.

A spokesman for the restaurant said: “It was a fantastic evening - a huge success and great fun. We want to thank all our customers and everyone who supported the evening to help us buy food, shelter and clothes.”

Alam Shamim, owner of Bombay Nights restaurant in Walton High Street, who is co-ordinating the events, said: “We know we can raise funds and make a difference in this way - just £5 buys a family food for a day, £10 pays for medical needs for a whole family, £20 provides clothing for a family, £50 for a household water purifier, £100 pays for a temporary shelter for a family and just £300 for a permanent family shelter.”

Further events have been organised at other restaurants - Dhaka Restaurant, Orwell Place, Ipswich, on April 15; Gandhi Restaurant, St Peter's Street, Ipswich, April 30; Bombay Nite, Walton High Street, Felixstowe, May 6.

Further events will be held at the Maharani, Norwich Road, Ipswich, and Mumbai in Coachman Court, Ipswich.

The cyclone killed 15,000 people, damaged more than two million acres of crops and killed 1.25 million livestock.

The Bangladesh government estimates nearly one billion dollars will be needed to rebuild the infrastructure and restore livelihoods.

Are you helping with the fundraising - call the Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 with details of events.