Charities and community groups receive �35,000 from Sandringham Flower Show

More than �35,000 has been handed out to charities and community groups battling to survive the slump by Sandringham Flower Show.

Some of the 34 groups said they would struggle to keep going without donations from the show, held on the Royal Estate in Norfolk each July.

More than 20,000 attended this year's event, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Proceeds from the much-loved show are traditionally ploughed back into the community.

At a reception at Sandringham on Thursday night, show chairman David Reeve told guests: 'Shows all across the country and in East Anglia in particular, were falling victim to the weather – show after show was being cancelled. But this year we broke all records, with �36,500 donated to charities.'

Among them was West Norfolk REMAP – a group which makes specialist equipment for disabled people, ranging from aids to help people suffering from arthritis to wash up or use their washing machines, to more ambitious devices.

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Retired engineering lecturer Brian Kallagher, the group's treasurer, said the money would help it buy raw materials and sub-contract jobs which required specialist equipment its members did not possess.

Mr Kallagher said the eight-strong group helped between 35 and 40 people a year. He said one of its most recent projects was a set of folding steps which disabled anglers could use to negotiate high floodbanks, so they could go fishing on the River Ouse. 'We don't confine ourselves to helping people do domestic things. We help them enjoy their sports and pastimes as well,' he said.

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Sandy Thorpe, co-ordinator of West Norfolk Red Cross's Home from Hospital service, said a donation from the show would help it fund deliveries of milk, bread and basic groceries to elderly people being discharged from hospital.

'We couldn't provide that part of our service without the money,' said Mrs Thorpe, whose group operates across West Norfolk and parts of Fenland and Breckland.

Mike Jackson, chairman of the Great Massingham Community Car Scheme, said it drove people without transport from Massingham and neighbouring villages to around 4,000 hospital or GP appointments, along with shopping trips every year.

'It's very important to us,' he said. 'We have a very limited budget but we need to pay people to run the telephones in the office.'

Keith Twaites, headteacher at Ingoldisthorpe Primary School, said the school would be using its donation to buy library books for its 97 pupils.

'We're having quite a drive on reading this year,' he said.

Air cadets will be using a donation from the show towards the cost of an eight-day adventure training expedition to Iceland in March.

Flt Lt Pauline Petch, from 42F King's Lynn Air Training Corps, said 12 cadets would spend five nights camping on a glacier.

Other charities and community groups who benefited were the Army Cadets, Dersingham Infant and Nursery School, Dersingham St George's School, Flitcham School, H&F Good Companions, Heacham Car Scheme, Sandringham and West Newton Pre-School, Sandringham and West Newton School, Sandringham Seniors, the Astro Fund, Autism Anglia, Burnham Market Car Scheme, Dersingham day centre, Dersingham Guides and Scouts, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Emmaus, EP Youth, ESCAPE, Friends in Bereavement, King's Lynn Home Start, Little Discovers, Mencap West Norfolk, Lynn Multiple Sclerosis Society, King's Lynn Osteoporosis Group, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, React, Norfolk Hospice, Waveney Stardust, West Norfolk Befriending and Writingwell.

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