St Albans community unites to help victims of Japan disaster

THE GOOD people of St Albans came out in droves on Saturday to offer their support to the Japanese community and fundraise for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

With just five days to prepare, the local Japanese community drew on all their resources as well as the kindness of their neighbours and managed to raise over �16,000 for the Red Cross appeal which will go towards helping the many millions of people affected by the disaster.

One of the many organisers, Chiho Sharp, said they were deeply thankful to the many people who donated to the cause and took part in their fundraising event on Saturday at the Jubilee Centre in Catherine Street.

The event included Japanese food, music and an auction which saw impressive items such as an iPad and a 42-inch TV being snapped up.

Chiho said: “We had to do something and decided to host a charity event. People have been very nice and generous. We really want to thank the Jubilee Centre and the council too, who organised for us to have a licence to collect money at the market on Wednesday with just a day’s notice. We managed to raise �1,000 on that day alone.”

Deputy Mayor Beric Read, who was born and brought up in Japan, attended the event. Cllr Jack Pia described the fundraising as “remarkable” and helped the group secure a free market stall yesterday (Wednesday) from which to sell more goods in order to raise funds.

n St Albans Girls’ School held a combined fundraiser for Comic Relief and victims of the Japan tsunami last Friday, raising more than �2,300.

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Pupil Misaki Hata, 17, whose family came originally from Japan, created a large poster on which students wrote supportive messages for their counterparts at Rikuzen Takada Chuugakou, a secondary school badly affected by the tsunami.