Sierra Leone diplomat praises local Woodbridge charity Operation Hospital Beds
21st July 2010
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It's always great to see how local effort, showing Woodbridge business and community coming together, can have a far reaching effect. I was sent the following press release recently and it made me reflect on how sometimes it is all too easy to say that a problem is so big that anything we do will just not have a real impact on peoples lives, and so we do nothing. This story shows how Woodbridge is using it's skills, charitable spirit and enterprising initiative to provide very real, practical support that is making a difference to those less fortunate.

The launch of a campaign to raise £4000 to provide beds for a hospital in impoverished Sierra Leone has won plaudits from one of the country’s cultural attaches, Didi Longe, who lives in Suffolk.  The charity, Operation Hospital Beds, raised £2100 at its launch in Woodbridge on 10 July attended by more than 150 invited guests. 
The charity is a combined operation by Woodbridge professional photographer Annette Roberts,  Holby City actor Luke Roberts  and the Rotary Club of Woodbridge.  The launch was at an exhibition of photographs taken by Annette on a recent visit to Sierra Leone, when she was impressed by the positive attitude of the desperately poor people.
Didi Longe, a cousin of her country’s President, was present  when Luke Roberts (Dr Joseph Byrne in the hospital drama Hoby City)  launched the appeal by handing over a cheque for £1000. She said:  ‘This is a wonderful effort.  Lots of the people who come to Sierra Leone, see the conditions and go home saying they must do something to help.  Most don’t get very far, because they think of something too ambitious.
‘But what Annette is doing is practical, manageable and makes best use of her professional skills as a photographer.   In our country, a little goes a long way, and ten beds for a tiny hospital are much more useful than a grandiose plan that fails. What is just as important is that the exhibition of her photographs, which capture the true spirit of Sierra Leone, has raised awareness of our problems.’
Longe’s  view was echoed by Rotary Club President David Houchell, who said the project fitted in well with the Club’s policy of supporting small practical projects in the Third World.
Annette’s photographs and paintings by husband John are on display at Top Floor Studio on Quayside, Woodbridge, IP12 1BH (Next door to the Riverside Cinema).
Donations can be made by cheque to the Rotary Club of Woodbridge Trust Fund ,  c/o Top Floor Studio , or on line at woodbridgerotary.org.uk and following the links to the Just Giving site.

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