Ipswich helps with Comic Relief

A BIG pat on the back today goes out to people in Suffolk who helped raise money for Comic Relief.AXA in Ipswich ran the region's biggest call centre for the campaign.

A BIG pat on the back today goes out to people in Suffolk who helped raise money for Comic Relief.

AXA in Ipswich ran the region's biggest call centre for the campaign.

Staff from the insurance giant, together with their friends and family, volunteered their time to man 150 phone lines.

The dedicated volunteers managed to take more than £150,000 in donations during the five-hour charity special yesterday evening.

Janine Erangey, AXA community leader, said: "The atmosphere was very happy. It was a party atmosphere. People are very willing to give up their time for a good cause."

Nicole Walton, 19, of the Sainsbury's Pet Insurance department, was helping to man the phones.

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She said: "It's very busy, but it's good fun and everybody's getting involved."

Karen Osbourne, 41, an AXA project manager, said: "Every time there is an event like this, I try to do it – its great fun."

Commercial underwriter Edward Phillips, 33, added: "It's definitely good to be helping."

To keep the volunteers going, Subway in Queen Street, Ipswich, donated enough sandwiches, cookies and drinks for more than 200 people.

The volunteers' children, many of whom came along, gave out the food.

Schools in Suffolk also got into the Comic Relief spirit – with everything from non-uniform days to special stunts and comic concerts.

It was a non-uniform day at Orwell High School in Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, but the staff seemed to take it more seriously than the students.

Teacher Peter Etchingham was spotted in sixth form in a nightdress, Sue Woolliams and Sheri Breeze in the language department in their karate outfits, while Pete Lobb in his science lab had half a beard.

Mr Lobb had been growing his beard since Christmas, but promised to shave off half of it if his form raised at least £80 for Comic Relief by shaking buckets around the school the week before. They have now collected more than £90.

Students Megan Pomietlo and Lisa Kilner decided to spend the day manacled together in costume to kill two birds with one stone . . . publicise the play The Crucible they are in and raise money for Red Nose Day.

Students in the Sixth Form joined in the fun with some "opposite sex dressing" –including Max Gilbert and Francis Fox making a very fetching pair of nurses. A teacher generation game, organised by the Sixth Form, was held at lunchtime.

Collections were also held at Deben High School, Garrison Lane, where there was a non uniform day and pupils were encouraged to sport "wacky hair".

Have you organized any Comic Relief events? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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