Norwich day centre will get Canary cash

A day centre for disabled people will receive a massive boost when Norwich City plays at home against Leeds United in special shirts bearing its logo.

The Hamlet Centre, in Norwich, which provides support for around 1,000 families across the county, won the unique prize in the EDP-backed Aviva Community Chest competition.

EDP readers nominated 130 charities for the Community Chest competition, which was whittled down to a shortlist of five and put to the final vote.

Almost 10,000 votes – a record for the competition – were cast by EDP readers and Aviva staff and a staggering 5,495 of those were cast for the Hamlet Centre.

It will also be given use of the Aviva executive box during the game, the opportunity to place charity collectors around the ground on match day and a visit from a player at a charity event.

The shirts will also be auctioned off after the game and the money donated to the centre.

The charity helps people aged from four to 45 at its premises on Ella Road, near the railway station, but started a �1.3m fundraising campaign earlier this year to revamp the St Raphael Club in Johnson Place to create a dedicated unit for young children.

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The existing Ella Road centre would then be dedicated to adults.

So far it has raised �735,000 towards the new centre, and the increased promotion from the host of prizes will help it to hit its target.

Michael Rooney, chief executive of the centre, said he was 'absolutely thrilled' with the news.

'It was something that really meant a lot to us.

'The place was absolutely buzzing, there was whooping and cheering – a beautiful reaction. This comes at such a great time for us.

'It was the beginning of last week that work on the new centre started, so it's just perfect.'

The Hamlet Centre has a long history with Norwich City Football Club, from the days when its co-founder, Jack Wymer, used to attend in the 1970s.

'Jack used to go to every game, rain or shine. The yellow and green logo of the Hamlet Centre was simply because he was a Norwich fan,' said Mr Rooney.

Other finalists in the competition were Priscilla Bacon Lodge, Nelson's Journey, United Norwich Kidney Patients' Association and Norfolk Accident and Rescue Service.

Chris Elliott, sponsorship manager at Aviva, said 'I am delighted that we have had a record response from the public both for the original nominations and now in the volume of votes.

'We look forward to working with The Hamlet Centre in the coming weeks and will be making a donation of �1,000 to the four runners up charities.'

The game against Leeds Utd will take place on November 20 at Carrow Road.