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Cornish Supplies Head to Sierra Leone

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10:29am 5th December 2014
(Updated 10:29am 5th December 2014)

Colleagues of the Cornish air crews out in the ebola zone help pack up emergency aid for orphans.

Around 50 thousand pounds worth of food, toys and medical supplies are being sent to Sierra Leone on board the Gypsum Centennial.

A&P Falmouth launched the appeal for vital provisions to send to an orphanage in time for Christmas.

Within two weeks of the appeal being launched, several storage rooms at the company's head office were packed to the rafters with donations and the closing date was extended.

Ian Penny is an AET at Culdrose.

He says some of the crew have never spent Christmas away from their families: "At the moment, our sister squadron, 820, are out there so the guys are out on RFA Argus. We wanted to come down here, offer our support and if we can do a little bit of the logistics back at this end, they know that people are still thinking about them and offering their support.

"Conditions aren't particularly great, they're working really hard, they're working long hours - so if we can do a little bit at this end to help them out then we were more than happy to do that. The guys do know it's coming but knowing the support's there back home makes a massive difference."

The total includes donations received for 'All as One' orphanage and for four other charities, which have delivered their boxed and labelled aid to Falmouth Docks.

Penny Phillips, Executive Assistant at A&P Falmouth, who is co-ordinating the appeal, said: "The outpouring of generosity has been truly staggering - cars and vans have been arriving every ten minutes and we have exceeded our wildest expectations.

"We have our general stores full, two large offices full and a container half full but we are continuing to receive. We must be looking at somewhere in the region of £40,000 worth of food, hygiene, toys and other products - at least!

"We'd like to say a huge thank you to every person, family, church and organisation that has contributed. We will be collecting until 5pm on Friday, so there is still time."

Penny added: ""We are extremely grateful to Beltship Management for allowing Médecins Sans Frontières, Sight Savers, MAGE and the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion to piggy-back the shipment to Sierra Leone, so not only the children of the orphanage but those in a wider region of Sierra Leone will be receiving hugely important relief."

Individual stories of generosity include a £5,000 donation from one Falmouth resident and Britannia Lanes of Cornwall donating 100 boxes for packing. Families of those serving on RFA Argus, communities from Cape Cornwall to Braunton in North Devon, and organisations up and down the country including Rotary clubs, churches, schools, universities, Inner Wheel clubs, Lions clubs, district nurses, ships' chandlers and surveyors, dock yard tenants and a hedgehog rescue group, have all made donations.

The appeal was launched following the heart-warming response to similar appeals in November 2013 and June 2014, when hundreds of toys and sports equipment were donated and sent to the orphanage in Sierra Leone - A&P's chosen charity for 2014.

The distinctive Cornish-coloured black and yellow boxes, in which the food, toys and medical supplies are being shipped, were donated by Helston-based disaster relief charity, ShelterBox.

The Gypsum Centennial is expected to leave Falmouth on Sunday or Monday, depending on the tides.

10:29am 5th December 2014

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