Ex-mayor’s charity give-away

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A FORMER mayor has donated a year’s worth of fund-raising to charities close to his heart.

Cllr Ian Houlder, who was Mayor of St Edmundsbury in 2010/11, presented £1,300 each to the Bury St Edmunds branches of The Samaritans and Parkinsons UK as well as the Suffolk Diabetes Interest Group (Suffdig).

He also gave £731 to Riding for the Disabled.

The money was collected from a variety of activities including commercial events, the New Year’s Eve ball and dinners.

Cllr Houlder, who represents the Barrow ward, said: “They’re all local worthy causes. I’m so pleased that people gave as generously as they did.”

His wife Sue has an association with the local Samaritans group and he was introduced to Suffdig by his consultant doctor as he is diabetic.

John Hines, trustee and treasurer of Suffdig, which is based at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “It’s a wonderful gesture. The money is going to be spent on education for teenage diabetics.”

Jill Turner, a deputy director at the Samaritans, said: “We rely 100 per cent on voluntary funding. It helps us to provide a service where people can phone us at any time for emotional support.”

Irene Bragg, chairman of the Parkinsons group, added: “Half will subsidise our Christmas lunch and the other will go in our respite fund.”