'She pulled at my heartstrings'
THERE are just days to go before this year's Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball. The event is set to raise thousands for its chosen charity Disability Care Enterprise, and is sponsored by Ipswich firm Call Connection.
THERE are just days to go before this year's Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.
The event is set to raise thousands for its chosen charity Disability Care Enterprise, and is sponsored by Ipswich firm Call Connection. Today JAMES MARSTON speaks to managing director Graeme Kalbraier about a young woman's plight which has tugged at his heart strings.
SITTING in his office in St Nicolas Street, Ipswich, Graeme Kalbraier looks every inch the successful businessman.
Father-of-two Graeme owns and runs Call Connection, a call centre firm working in the insurance market, that connects customers with insurers.
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He said: “We started in 2004 with 40 people. Today we employ 360 and the business is still growing. Using advanced software we match customers with insurers.”
As reported in the Evening Star, Call Connection celebrated this year after making it on to the Sunday Times top 100 best companies list. Graeme said: “In particular we came first in the fair deal category in which employees assess their working conditions, pay and benefits.”
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A successful businessman for more than 20 years in the Ipswich area, Graeme is also well known for his work in the community. As part of his charity work Call Connection has sponsored the Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball for a number of years.
Graeme said: “It is a way for us to put back something into the community. DCE is a fantastic charity and does some very important work to help those who need it most. I am delighted to be involved once again with the Press Ball.
“Some weeks ago I met a number of people who benefited from last year's Press Ball. All the people I met have been helped enormously by DCE. It proved to me how much our community needs the support from businesses and people in the area who can help.”
On Friday night, amid the glittering celebrations of the night of nights, Graeme will hand over a cheque to DCE, to help a young woman he is particularly keen to assist.
Among those he met was 26-year-old Sara Layton, who has cerebral palsy and difficulty walking.
Graeme added: “Despite her difficulties Sara is such a bright and outgoing personality.
“You cannot help but admire her courage and her zest for life. She is a great example to all of us of how precious the gift of life is.”
DCE had already been able to provide Sara with a special lightweight wheelchair which enables her to be more mobile.
Graeme added: “She told me that what she really wants is a specialist trike which will allow her to walk without crutches. She said her crutches hurt under her arm.
“I decided to take part in this year's Orwell Walk to raise £3,600 so that DCE can provide Sara with the trike she needs.”
Graeme asked 18 friends to sponsor him for £100 each, before turning to building firm RG Carters for a further £1,800.
He added: “Thanks to the generosity of RG Carters and the other sponsors I am now able to present a cheque during the evening to DCE for Sara's trike. Sara is a wonderful person and I am very proud to be able to help her.”
Have you been helped by DCE? What do you think of the Press Ball? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to email@example.com
A DAZZLING night held at the Hotel Elizabeth, Copdock, on June 22, the Press Ball attracts the cream of Suffolk society.
And as finishing touches are put to this year's Ice Ball theme, the 2007 event is expected to be the biggest and best yet. Organisers have secured the services of heart throb pop star Tony Hadley in a massive coup for what has become the highlight of the county's social calendar.
Total so far-£257,000