Help hospital ship get afloat

PUBLISHED: 12:46 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

Comet readers are being asked to help launch a new hospital ship which will take part in mercy trips to  Africa

Comet readers are being asked to help launch a new hospital ship which will take part in mercy trips to Africa

COMET readers are being asked to help raise money to complete the £35m conversion of a ferry into a hospital ship. Charity Mercy Ships UK, based in Stevenage, is looking to set up its first fundraising support group. Members from the local community thr

COMET readers are being asked to help raise money to complete the £35m conversion of a ferry into a hospital ship.

Charity Mercy Ships UK, based in Stevenage, is looking to set up its first fundraising support group.

Members from the local community through churches, schools, businesses, leisure and social groups are being given the opportunity to join this new fundraising initiative in order to help Mercy Ships in their latest efforts to raise the remaining funds and essential supplies required to complete the £35m conversion of a former Danish rail ferry into its third hospital ship, The Africa Mercy.

The global hospital ship charity provides free medical care, relief aid, community development and long-term sustainable development to the poorest countries in the world where no affordable health care is available.

When complete, The Africa Mercy will be the world's largest charity hospital ship housing six operating theatres, a 78-bed ward and 20 containers for medical supplies.

The ship will head to Ghana early this summer with a crew of 450 volunteers, including highly skilled medical teams who will carry out much-needed operations, such as cataract and tumour removals, cleft lips and palates, dental treatments, VVF repairs and orthopaedic surgery making a lasting difference to individual lives.

Alongside the new fundraising support group being set up, companies can also help in Mercy Ships' goal to serve one million people a year, by setting up a payroll giving scheme. In doing so, small to medium sized enterprises employing up to 500 staff may qualify for a government grant of £300 to £500.

Judy Polkinhorn, executive director for Mercy Ships UK, said: "We would be happy to visit local companies and community groups to discuss how individuals can become part of the new fundraising support group and outline the payroll giving scheme in more detail.

"Presentations on the work of Mercy Ships can also be provided to staff to highlight how fundraising support can help us to continue providing medical relief and community development in a world of need."

As a global charity with very little government funding, Mercy Ships is entirely dependent on the generosity of volunteers, supporters, fundraisers and companies who provide gifts-in-kind.

o If you would like to donate visit www.mercyships.org.uk

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