Charity loses £500 in Farepak crash

PUBLISHED: 12:33 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

Steve Long with wife Pam and daughter Dana study the letter from the Farepak administrators with Libra chairman Joy Dickinson (left) and club member Marion Brockwell

Steve Long with wife Pam and daughter Dana study the letter from the Farepak administrators with Libra chairman Joy Dickinson (left) and club member Marion Brockwell

A charity that was planning to bring smiles to the faces of chronically and terminally ill children at Christmas has been told the money they invested for presents has been lost. The Libra Support Group, based in Stevenage, is backed by the paediatric uni

A charity that was planning to bring smiles to the faces of chronically and terminally ill children at Christmas has been told the money they invested for presents has been lost.

The Libra Support Group, based in Stevenage, is backed by the paediatric unit at Lister Hospital and helps give presents at Christmas and trips to children not just in Stevenage but Hitchin and Letchworth GC as well.

Three weeks ago the group sent off their cheque for £500 towards getting gifts from Christmas hamper gift company Farepak only to be shocked a few days later when the company went into administration owing millions of pounds.

This week the group said they are digging deep into their savings to make sure children on their Christmas list would not go without presents.

The money used on presents will mean cash set aside for trips next year will be swallowed up and some trips will have to be cancelled.

"We are gutted. Just days after sending them the cheque Farepak cashed it and then went into administration. They must have known they were going to the wall but to do this to a charity is wicked," said Libra Support Group treasurer Steve Long, of Skipton Crescent, Stevenage.

"We are a small charity formed 10 years ago and run by parents who have a child or in some cases children, with life-threatening, terminal or chronic illness.

"We have some 50 families in the group and ensure each child, including all its siblings, have a Christmas gift of vouchers to spend as they wish.

"We are devastated by what has happened. This money has gone somewhere, probably into the hands of those directors who have effectively stolen it from our children. I hope they can sleep easily."

Mr Long added: "We are not going to allow this to make it an unhappy Christmas for these sick children and will find the money to make sure they have presents.

"All our children and families find just managing a very sick child from day to day often distressing, yet all are totally devoted to ensuring they have a good and happy life as possible.

"Christmas is a very special time of us all, and particularly so when, for some of us, one or two of the children we support, or have in our own families, will not be sharing in Christmas next year.

"This is why we are angry about what has happened to Farepak, and we are aware many other organisations and individuals and groups are in a similar position to ourselves."

The Government has now stepped in to try and help the thousands who have lost money in Farepak's collapse and Tesco have also pledged £250,000 to help those who have lost money. Argos and Marks & Spencer are also expected to back the campaign.

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