Charity set up by wife of Norfolk MP aids amputees
A family tragedy has been channelled into creating hope for thousands of disabled children in Africa after a charity formed by the wife of a Norfolk MP helped its first amputees.
Victoria Bacon visited east Africa after the Friends of the Children of Tanzania became the first organisation to benefit from a charity set up in her mother's memory.
And the wife of South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has pledged to continue to help young amputees across the world after fundraising for and visiting the project in the north west of Tanzania.
Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope was established earlier this year in tribute to Elizabeth Panton, who was killed by an out-of-control bus in London four years ago, which also injured Mrs Bacon's twin sister and two-year-old niece, Pollyanna, who lost a leg as a result of the crash.
The tragedy led to the formation of the charity, which aims to help improve the lives of limbless children in the UK and the developing world.
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Mrs Bacon visited Kagera, one of the poorest regions of Tanzania, to see the work of the Friends of the Children of Tanzania, which makes low-cost prosthetic limbs for disabled children. Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope has pledged its first �25,000 to the organisation to create a new limb centre with a modern kiln, oven and moulds for prosthetic limbs, which cost �30 per limb to make.
Mrs Bacon, whose husband was also in Tanzania with Voluntary Service Overseas to help local farmers, spent four days visiting children who lost limbs and met with health officials to see how their charity's support was making a difference.
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The mother-of-two added that it was 'profoundly moving' to see how the charity was helping children, who had lost an arm or leg because of infection or accident. She also visited an accident prevention programme and a mobile accident and emergency clinic.
'Our duty to help has been made clearer than ever, seeing the kind of challenges and hardship that so many face, in Kagera and beyond. Our work in helping amputees is a small but vital part of giving those who need it a much better life.
'There is very little help for a lot of these children and we are definitely going to keep going and there is a real momentum. We will keep in touch with this project and we haven't decided what project to support next.
'We are not a rich charity and we are organising fundraising events all of the time, and we are encouraging children to raise money for children,' she said.
Mrs Bacon and her sister Sarah Hope launched the charity this year, which was attended by amputee Heather Mills, director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti and former head of the British Army and Norfolk resident General Lord Dannatt, and have received support from their cousin Joanna Lumley.
She added: 'I think that mummy would be really delighted and would appreciate what we are doing. She was always encouraging us to help other people and she was always helping people.'
For more information and to support the new charity, visit www.elizabethslegacyofhope.org