New Zealanders at Norwich office help raise money for earthquake victims

Two Norwich workmates who originally hail from earthquake-hit Christchurch in New Zealand have rallied colleagues for a fundraising event to help family back home.

The devastating earthquake hit Christchurch on February 22, killing more than 100 people, injuring about 2,500 and leaving thousands homeless.

Peter Crellen and Sarah Preston, employees of Cable & Wireless Worldwide and based in the King Street, Norwich office, both grew up in Christchurch and many of their friends and family still live there.

Sarah, 35, a mother-of-two from the Golden Triangle, was told the terrible news by her husband.

She said: 'My husband came in and told me that 65 people were dead in the earthquake. My parents both live and work in Christchurch, but luckily they had let us know they were all right. The hospital where I was born and the school I went to were both damaged.'

She said the first thing she wanted to do on hearing the news was to hop on a plane and go back and help.

The next best thing was to persuade colleagues to support those affected by the quake by joining the world in the Red Cross 'Red and Black day' (Christchurch colours) campaign, she said.

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'Colleagues ate delicious red and black cupcakes and many of them dressed in red and black to show their support for the people of Christchurch, and we raised more than �700 for the appeal.'

Mr Crellen, 41, from Kenninghall in south Norfolk, said: 'I was absolutely gutted when I found out about the quake, and was really worried for family and friends.

'We saw places on TV where we had grown up that were completely devastated, but the cathedral coming down was the main blow, because that's the centre of the city and everybody knows it.

'The main problem we had was getting in touch with people in Christchurch, and it took a couple of days before we found out everyone was OK.'

Last month Emily Nudd, from Trafford Road, Norwich, woman told how she had been planning to have lunch in the port town of Lyttelton, just outside Christchurch, and would have been there at the time the quake struck – but she was delayed and escaped the disaster.

To donate to the earthquake appeal, go to or call 0845 054 7200.

Do you know of anyone affected by the earthquake? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email