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Leicester Mercury's Christmas Appeal: £16,000 raised in just two weeks


Generous readers have helped raise more than £16,000 in just two weeks for the Mercury's Christmas Appeal in aid of Leicester Children's Holiday Centre, in Mablethorpe.

The charity, which provides a holiday for 350 children every year, needs £65,000 to replace its ageing boilers and revamp its central heating.

The charity's chairman, Jim Roberts, described the total raised so far as "fantastic".

The latest donation of £500, from a jumble sale organised by Sandra Doherty in Market Harborough on Saturday, took the charity's total from £15,861 to £16,361.

Sandra, 69, organised the event at Huntingdon Gardens, a sheltered accommodation complex where she lives with her 72-year-old husband, Kevin, who went to the home as a boy.

She said: "That's brilliant that we've taken them over the £16,000 mark – I'm over the moon."

Mr Roberts said he was delighted with the amount raised so far.

"I think it's fantastic – even better than I had hoped at this stage," he said.

"The total takes us a long way towards the first £25,000 to replace the boilers before going on to upgrade the central heating to make it more comfortable for the hundreds of children who stay there every year."

Individual donations pouring in to the charity's Holy Bones headquarters, in the city, have varied from £5 to £3,000.

Diane Batson, the charity's children's officer, said: "It's lovely waiting for the post to arrive each day and opening it to find cheques for the appeal.

"A lot of them are from pensioners who have been to the home who may not have a lot to give, but are still prepared to support the appeal.

"We've had £2,000 from someone who doesn't want to be named and we have had £3,000 from St Margaret's Charities."

A letter accompanying one of the donations read: "Although we are now pensioners we both have been to the holiday home as children and hold very fond memories of that time. I know this is not much, we do hope it helps a little."

Another contributor wrote: "Please find cheque enclosed for £25. I had use of your home many years ago. We spent one week in the old building, then one week in the new building around 1936. Thank you very much."

Lord Mayor of Leicester Abdul Osman, who enjoyed a holiday at the centre himself as a boy in the 1970s, said: "That's a fabulous amount of money for people to donate in just a couple of weeks. It would be nice if, in the run-up to Christmas, that generosity of spirit continues and the target is reached.

"I appreciate these are not the best of economic times, but this is a very worthwhile cause."

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