Video: Sir Ian praises Suffolk's generosity

CRICKETING legend Sir Ian Botham praised the people of Suffolk for their generosity amid the economic turmoil as he took to the county's streets for his latest charity feat.

Dave Gooderham

CRICKETING legend Sir Ian Botham praised the people of Suffolk for their generosity amid the economic turmoil as he took to the county's streets for his latest charity feat.

The ex-England star was given a rousing reception in Bury St Edmunds on the latest leg of a national walk which is raising more than £30,000 a day.

He was greeted by fellow fundraisers, young and old, supporting Leukaemia Research and met families affected by the disease.


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The cricketing hero praised the Suffolk public for coming out and supporting him and said that his latest fundraising effort proved people were defying the credit crunch.

“I think people have had a gutful and are fed up with the credit crunch and bankers playing Russian roulette with their money,” said Sir Ian.

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“The response we have had from the public has been fantastic - they are coming out and doing something positive. I have been really impressed with how much money has been raised and the amount of people who have come to support us has been fantastic.

“I would like to thank everyone (in Bury) for coming. The public should all give themselves a pat on the back as we wouldn't be able to do anything without their support.”

Among the members of the public who greeted Sir Ian at Ickworth House, Horringer, was Bill Burroughs , from Ipswich, whose 11-year-old son, Richard, died from leukaemia.

Mr Burroughs said: “My son died after four years of treatment and it was a rollercoaster. The walk was a bit emotional but we wanted to support Sir Ian and I was able to thank him for his efforts which are clearly having an effect.”

Alan Smith, from Colchester, walked in support of his close friend Annette Kitchin, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 1997, while Beverely Allum , from Thurston, near Bury, praised the work of Sir Ian in raising funds and awareness after losing her husband, Dave, to the illness.

Setting off from the town's Marks and Spencer store in Bury's Buttermarket, Sir Ian walked through much of the town centre before heading to West Suffolk Hospital and then on to Ickworth House.

He said: “I started because in 1977, I saw children die, it was as simple as that. I didn't know what they were dying of as I had heard of leukaemia but didn't know what it was.

“When I started walking, the survival rate for children with leukaemia was 20%. Now it is 87%. I would like to think we could get it to 100% although I'm not sure if that is possible. If we can get into the 90s, we will have done well.”

Sir Ian, who won more than 100 England caps and is still the country's leading wicket-taker, has raised more than £10million for Leukaemia Research, of which he is now president, since his walks started in 1985. He was knighted for his cricketing achievements and charity work last year.

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