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BBC reporter raises charity funds

PUBLISHED: 11:04 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:16 02 July 2010

Rob Garratt

Two friends who are organising a fundraising birthday party for the region's life-saving air ambulance say they have been overwhelmed by the generous contributions from local businesses.

Two friends who are organising a fundraising birthday party for the region's life-saving air ambulance say they have been overwhelmed by the generous contributions from local businesses.

Hannah Redding and Maria Veronese are busy planning a 10th birthday bash for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

It is one of a series of fundraisers they are putting on in honour of Ms Redding's brother, who died in a car crash less than a year ago.

The women say they have been inundated with more than £6,000 worth of pieces for the party's raffle and auction, which takes place at Norwich's Epic on March 20.

The Big Birthday Bash celebrates the air ambulance's 10 years of saving lives across the region, which relies on charitable donations of £2m a year to function.

BBC East reporter Ms Veronese, 40, from Weston Longville, says she is "gobsmacked" with the number of companies who have offered to help with the festivities, which will have a heroes theme and are expected to attract some local celebrities.

Top raffle prizes donated for the party include a helicopter ride for two donated by Sterling Aviation, based at Norwich International Airport, and one year's membership for The Edge Health and Fitness Club at Barnham Broom, worth about £500.

Aviva has offered £250 worth of prizes, while Gowise has offered to print all the tickets and posters for free and PeachPlum has donated the artwork.

Elsewhere Adnams has donated beer, CMA Hire has offered 500 tables and chairs and the Broads House Boutique Hotel has donated an overnight stay for two. Entertainment is being provided by Jammin' Entertainments, while local band Scratch the Cat are writing off their usual £3,000 fee to play the party.

The fundraising carries an extra significance for Ms Redding, who lost her 24-year-old brother Mathew Jones to a road crash last year. His car tipped over and crashed into a garden fence on the A1151 in Rackheath on Good Friday, April 10.

The pair have also been busy training ready to pound the streets for than 26 miles in the London Marathon in April, again raising funds for the air ambulance.

Ü To buy tickets to the Big Birthday Bash, to sponsor the pair's run or to donate prizes for the run go to www.runningformatthew.com

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