Ipswich/Australia: Flood appeal tops �5,000

IPSWICH/AUSTRALIA: Ipswich’s fighting community spirit is as strong as ever after raising a massive �5,000 for our Australian counterparts devastated by the Queensland floods.

In just a few short days since the launch of Ipswich United – the Evening Star and The Ipswich Building Society’s appeal to help the flood victims – we have raised �5,328 in total and have been inundated with donations.

The overwhelming response and fantastic generosity is typical of our town. As the flood waters subside and the huge clean-up operation continues on the other side of the world, our community is resolute in its support of our namesake town – Ipswich, Queensland.

Generous theatre-goers are among those who have dug deep, raising more than �1,000 for the appeal.

Staff at the New Wolsey Theatre, in Ipswich’s Civic Drive, diverted funds collected at the end of each performance of this year’s pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk to the appeal.

New Wolsey box office manager Stephen Skrypec said the panto audience raised �1,083.47 for the Ipswich United appeal. Mr Skrypec said he has been in contact with the theatre’s Australian counterpart, the Ipswich Civic Centre in Ipswich, Queensland, since the floods. Mr Skrypec added: “We are absolutely delighted with the amount collected from our audiences. It was great to break the �1,000 barrier. The New Wolsey Theatre plays a vital role in supporting the local community through its outreach and Creative Learning work and in this case we’re supporting another Ipswich community on the other side of the world.”

Gary Mears, Civic Centre manager, at Ipswich Civic Centre, expressed his gratitude by e-mail.

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He said: “The kind contributions from the New Wolsey Theatre will be greatly appreciated by those who have been impacted as the amount of destruction has to be seen to be believed. This event has certainly raised a new level of community spirit and support.”

Ipswich resident Dianne Davey, of Rushmere Road, is typical of those who have put their hands in their pockets in response to the appeal. Miss Davey, who sent a cheque to the appeal, said; “Two years ago I was visiting a relative in Brisbane and a friend in Lowood. We made several visits to Ipswich, a beautiful and interesting city. I am so pleased that Ipswich UK is trying to help Ipswich, Australia. I spoke to my relative in Brisbane and they really do appreciate what we are doing here.”

Paul Winter, chief executive of the Ipswich Building Society, which donated �1,000 to kick start the appeal, said: “The society is absolutely delighted at the success of the campaign. We have been astounded by the generosity of our members, many of whom have donated considerable sums of money.

“Although both towns are divided by thousands of miles, if feels as though there is a real connection and sense of community between the two places.”

n Are you supporting this cause? Tell us why. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk