Time to refocus

NEARLY a year has passed since the first of five women disappeared in Suffolk, throwing the nation's spotlight on to our streets. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on a new focus to Ipswich's fundraising campaign to help women in need.

By Tracey Sparling

NEARLY a year has passed since the first of five women disappeared in Suffolk, throwing the nation's spotlight on to our streets. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING reports on a new focus to Ipswich's fundraising campaign to help women in need.

DECEMBER 2006 was one of the darkest months in the history of Ipswich.

The focus of the nation was on our community for tragic reasons, as one by one the bodies of five young women were found in isolated spots skirting the town.

The murdered women all had three things in common. Firstly, they had fallen prey to the drug pushers who for years have been prowling our town at night and, secondly, as a result of their habit these women had turned in desperation to prostitution. The third thing was that every single one of these women had in common was that each one of them had come from loving families and their lives would have taken very different paths but for a simple twist of fate.

These were bright young women, some were mothers themselves, others had achieved at school and were at one point going on to further education.

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One of the most remarkable aspects to emerge from these tragic events is that we as a town did not judge Gemma Adams, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Tania Nicol and Paula Clennell for the lives they ultimately led, but that each one was somebody's daughter.

This compassionate and non-judgmental stance was widely recognised, as our town became the focus much of the national and international media coverage.

It also inspired The Evening Star's and Ipswich Borough Council's Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, which is a registered charity.

Today we rebrand the campaign to promote the positive message we are keen to convey. With the help of the families affected, our aim is to create a lasting legacy to those who have lost their lives by helping vulnerable young people in Ipswich.

The ultimate aim is to establish a safe house and rehabilitation centre in the town for young women who have developed drug habits and who desperately want to find a way out.

If we attract sufficient funds we also would like to fulfil the wishes of the victims' families and establish an education programme that warns young people about the dangers of experimenting with drugs.

The issues of drugs and prostitution in Ipswich did not die with those five tragic young women. It is alive and as threatening as ever today.

The authorities are so worried that they have already pinpointed 12 girls as young as ten in Ipswich primary schools who they believe, even at such a tender age, could end up walking the same tragic paths as Gemma, Annette, Anneli, Tania and Paula. The truth is that it is a issue that could touch us all... and it is something that we as a community should act upon.

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For the latest news on the campaign see www.eveningstar.co.uk . Alternatively contact Josh Warwick on 01473 324840 or e-mail josh.warwick@eveningstar.co.uk .

A trust has been established to make sure that the money raised is put to the best possible use.

The trustees include:

Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks

Ipswich Borough Council leader Liz Harsant

Ipswich MP Chris Mole

Canon Peter Townley

Lesley Dolphin of BBC Radio Suffolk

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

Get a fundraisers' pack.

THEY will be given to business leaders at a launch event in October and if you would like to attend please contact Sue Gipps at The Evening Star.

Individuals can also view the fundraisers' pack at www.somebodysdaughter.co.uk

Enrol your business

A NUMBER of companies have already been extremely supportive of Somebody's Daughter - either by making a generous donation or through their staff organising fundraising activities. Included in the fundraisers' pack are some cuttings from The Evening Star's coverage of such events. The one thing we can guarantee in return for your efforts is publicity and plenty of it!

So far activities have included simple collections through to inter-company football matches, pub fun days and a ten-pin bowling night. These events can be great for staff morale and bonding. We at the Star have been moved by the efforts of so many people who have raised considerable amount of money, but we still have a long way to go.

The Evening Star's editor Nigel Pickover has set out on an ambitious fundraising campaign of his own. He plans to shed pounds to get into shape in order to fight champion kickboxer Davin Pack, who is more than half his age!

Fundraising ideas...

· Indulgence evenings

· Men's/ Ladies' Golf days

· Sponsored walks

· Cricket and football matches

· Fashion Show

· Charity lunch

· Cooking exhibitions

· Flower arranging

· Car boot sale

· Wine tasting

· Quiz night

· Adopt Somebody's Daughter as your company's chosen charity

Some of the above would involve other businesses to supply goods or services either as a donation or at discounted prices. In return the Evening Star will cover the event.

To help you approach other companies for help in arranging your chosen event, we have included a covering letter in the pack which guarantees publicity for all those who contribute.

This will include pre-publicity, coverage of the actual event and the subsequent presentation of the proceeds to the trust.

The Somebody's Daughter lapel pin

BUY an enamel lapel pin for a donation of at least £1 each. If you would like to sell these in you workplace please contact Sue Gipps, The Evening Star's sales and marketing manager, on 01473 324843 and she will arrange delivery.

Make a donation

CASH donations to the Somebody's Daughter be made:

· In person at Ipswich Borough Council's customer services centre situated in Ipswich Town Hall

· Over the phone by calling 01473 433777 and choosing option number six

· By sending a cheque, made payable to Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund, to PO Box 772, Ipswich Borough Council, Grafton House, 15-17 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2DE

· Donations of more than £5 can be made online to the Ipswich Borough Council website at www.ipswich.gov.uk

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