Massive thank you for big-hearted donors

THANK you Ipswich!Co-op staff today issued a huge thank-you to customers for showing sick children what the spirit of Christmas really is.As The Evening Star paid credit to the chain and other donors who helped make our Christmas appeal the fastest to reach its target yet, the Co-op presented our Helping Our Children appeal with a cheque for £3,000 – on top of the £1,000 it donated to kick off the appeal.

YOU'VE done it!

Young patients at a Suffolk hospital today received the best Christmas present they could have hoped for - thanks to Evening Star readers, advertisers supporters.

Celebrations took place as by a brilliant effort the Star's Helping Our Children appeal reached its target in record-breaking time.

In the New Year it will mean a special children-friendly waiting and treatment area can be created at Felixstowe General.

The culmination of the £18,000 appeal came as:

The Port of Felixstowe's owner Hutchison Ports donated £2,000.

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Ipswich businessman Graeme Kalbraier, donated £1,000.

And Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society, having kicked off the appeal with a donation of £1,000, bridged the final gap with a further £3,000.

While the hospital's League of Friends will pay for equipment for the new area.

Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Trust corporate services manager Jeremy Peters said: “It is fantastic. We cannot thank The Evening Star enough for the support it has given us and all the people who have donated and given so generously.

“Many young children who visit the hospital will benefit from the new treatment area and it will hugely improve facilities for them.”

Junior sister Rachel Osborne said staff were overwhelmed with the support.

“It's wonderful. We want to say a really big thank you to everyone who has helped - the idea for the new area came from the staff and now we can't wait to see it built,” she said.

Port corporate affairs manager Paul Davey said: “The port is delighted to be able to help with this very worthwhile project - the children of many of our employees will have used the minor injuries unit (MIU) at Felixstowe General in the past and probably will in the future.”

As The Evening Star paid credit to the chain and other donors who helped make our Christmas appeal the fastest to reach its target yet, the Co-op presented our Helping Our Children appeal with a cheque for £3,000 - on top of the £1,000 it donated to kick off the appeal.

With £18,000 now raised, celebrations rang out in Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society (INCS) stores.

INCS chief executive Richard Samson said: “We're absolutely delighted that we've been able to influence the campaign so positively and in such a short space of time.

“It's in our ethos to support this type of thing in the local community.

“We gave our customers the opportunity every time they purchased from us to choose to contribute to their own dividend or to the appeal. The feedback has been very positive.”

Ipswich businessman Graeme Kalbraier, of Call Connection in Civic Drive, also backed the campaign by donating £1,000.

“I believe in the cause tremendously,” Mr Kalbraier said.

“It's very, very important to see the money which is raised is well used. You can see the benefit of this appeal.

“I think it's brilliant the people of Ipswich have got behind it. It's a good Christmas feeling for everyone that has contributed.”

League of Friends chairman Joan Sennington said the league would decide in January how much it would give to the appeal after hearing details from hospital staff of equipment needed.

“We are not allowed to give to bricks and mortar, so we could not contribute to the cost of the work which needs to be done - but we will pay for the equipment for the new area,” she said.

“It will be a fantastic facility for the hospital and one it really needs. Going to hospital can be a very frightening experience for children and we should do anything we can to make it easier and more comfortable.”

Sprites School also raised more than £200 for the appeal by holding a carol concert.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover encouraged readers to keep the donations flowing in.

“Even though we've reached our target the extra money that is raised will go toward buying toys and equipment for the children who visit Felixstowe General,” Mr Pickover said.

“Every penny will help make their stay more comfortable.”

Mr Pickover thanked everyone who had donated to the appeal and said it had been “a tremendous community effort”.

Work will see redundant toilets removed to create a treatment room able to take a bed, sink and equipment, and provide a waiting area with murals, toys and furniture for children.

The MIU is used by more than 15,000 people every year - many of them from outside the immediate Felixstowe area.

n Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society members can continue to help by quoting 977 when they pay for their shopping and services at the company's food stores, department stores, pharmacies and optical branches across Suffolk.

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