Norfolk communities help Haiti aid effort

Kathryn CrossWhile world leaders continue to pledge millions of pounds towards the emergency relief effort for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, the people of Norfolk are showing they too are being quick to respond with donations and funds being set up for the stricken country.Kathryn Cross

While world leaders yesterday continued to pledge millions of pounds towards the emergency relief effort for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, the people of Norfolk showed they too could be quick to respond with donations and funds being set up for the stricken country.

Schools and charities across the county switched to humanitarian mode, quickly organising events and street collections to raise as much money as possible for the emergency fund for the millions left injured and homeless by Tuesday's quake.

Their swift work came as radio and television broadcasts were launched to appeal for donations fronted by actor John Hurt and presenter Kirsty Young.

Steve Fordington, deputy head at St Thomas More junior school in Norwich, said their pupils were shocked by what had happened and immediately wanted to help.

'We showed them the Newsround coverage as part of assembly and they were very, very upset and realised how poor Haiti is and how devastating the earthquake had been,' he said.

'We all realised it was important to respond quickly and the head teacher Tony Hedges came up with the Hats for Haiti idea. Everyone came to school wearing a hat and gave a donation. They were very generous and so far we have raised �700 which will go straight to the Disaster Fund.'

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He said he hoped other schools might take up the idea and hold their own Hats for Haiti days.

The three Rotary Clubs in King's Lynn will be holding street collections in various locations in King's Lynn Town Centre today between 10am and 4pm. The monies raised will enable Shelter Boxes to be sent to Haiti to help the people left homeless by the disaster. Each Shelter Box costs �500 and provides the resources for a homeless family of up to 10 to survive.

Rotarian Michael Pellizzaro said: 'A Shelter Box will be on display and all of the money raised will provide help to the victims.'

Donations, made payable to the Rotary Club of King's Lynn, can also be sent c/o Stuart House Hotel, Goodwins Road, King's Lynn PE30 5QX.

Watton Rotary Club and Watton Inner Wheel will be collecting on Watton High Street on Wednesday and next Saturday, January 23, between 9am and 1pm.

Within hours of the request, Breckland Council's licensing officer agreed to issue the clubs with a Charities Street Collection Licence for the two days, and the Watton Co-op Manager gave permission for a collecting point outside the store in Chaston Place.

The total proceeds from the collection, augmented by substantial sums from the two clubs' own charity funds, will also go to the ShelterBox Trust. They will have a demonstration Shelter Box at the Clock Tower during the collections.

Swaffham and District Lions are holding a quiz on Wednesday, January 27 at Swaffham Assembly Rooms starting at 7.30pm. They need teams of up to six people for the event which costs �7 per head including fish and chip supper. All proceeds will go to the Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Lions International, the umbrella organisation of Swaffham Lions, have set up a fund and have already sent $50,000 to support the relief effort.

To book a team and for more information or to make a dontation, contact Dennis Tallon 01760 721550/722800.

Duncan Goose, Norfolk entrepreneur and founder of ethical water brand One Water, said his teams would be looking at putting in some long-term sustainable water systems to help the country's recovery over the next months.

He said: 'We are going to be working with a NGO (non-governmental organisation) who operates in that region later this year so maybe we can put in projects once the initial relief work has been done.'

To make a donation to the DEC Haiti appeal visit or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank by quoting Freepay 1449, or send a cheque payable to 'DEC Haiti Earthquake' and mail to PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA.