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Leicester Couple’s Tsunami Appeal

A Leicester couple are showing their gratitude to the Sri Lankan boatmen who helped save their lives when they were caught up in the Indian Ocean Tsunami, by re-visiting the area with donations for the families who have been displaced and left homeless by the disaster.

Tony and Sue Wright, who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with a dream holiday to Sri Lanka, were shepherded to safety by local boatmen after the wave struck as they were enjoying a trip on the river heading towards the Ocean.

The boatmen also offered the couple shelter and refreshments throughout the day as they struggled to come to terms with what had happened. Ever since then, Tony and Sue have been eager to help the people who helped to save their lives.

At Christmas the couple returned to Negombo in Sri Lanka to donate hundreds of pounds raised by friends and colleagues in the UK over the previous 12 months.

Tony and Sue are now in contact with John and Julie Cheeseman, who regularly visit Sri Lanka to help with the rebuilding programme out there and are taking their advice on how to allocate funds and plan future trips.

Tony, who booked both trips to Sri Lanka through Holidays-Direct said: “We were so grateful to the people who helped us and for the excellent way they treated us that we really wanted to do something to say thank you and to give something back to the area.”

“We do plan to go out there again if we can this year,” added Tony. “So, by keeping in touch with John and Julie we can find out what is needed most to ensure we match our funds with their requirements as accurately as possible.”

Tim Wright (no relation), from Holidays-Direct, said: “Following the Tsunami, our first priority was to help Tony and Sue get back to the UK as swiftly as possible and with the minimum amount of fuss. In addition to arranging their flight details, we also liased with their travel insurance company on their behalf. Tony said that he and Sue were so pleased with the way we helped them get back from Sri Lanka after the Tsunami that we were his first port of call when he needed to re-book to go back at Christmas.

“When they came back from their second trip they sent the team at Holidays-Direct a photo and an update, and it was lovely to see how they had helped.

“Just by going back to Sri Lanka they are helping to put money back into the local economy, so to take hundreds of pounds out with them to help pay for clothing, I am sure has really made a positive difference to the Sri Lankan children and their families who were displaced as a result of the wave hitting Negombo and the surrounding areas.”

The money that Tony and Sue collected was used to buy pairs of shoes for every child in the refugee camp at Negombo.

Holidays-Direct has also donated £100 to the couple to take with them on their next planned trip out to Sri Lanka.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to Tony and Sue’s Sri Lanka appeal can contact them on 0116 229 0578.

Holidays-Direct is a member of the Co-operative Travel Trading Group.

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