Thank you Panthers fans! Tsunami kids get clothes from ice hockey fans
THEIR homes have been battered by a tsunami and many have more experience of death than any child should.
But thanks to Nottingham Panthers' fans, a brief smile lit up the faces of children orphaned by the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.
Thousands of items of clothing donated by fans have finally arrived at the Baan Tharn Namchai Foundation, in Thailand.
The container had been packed nearly a year previously following an appeal for clothing from the Panthers' general manager Gary Moran in February, 2012.
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"We were pleased to be able to help with this mission," he said.
"The fans were amazing and came in their droves to donate and although I understand there were a few logistical problems getting the container out there, we have got it there and it's just part of the fabulous support we get from our fans.
"When you see the pictures of the kids smiling it's very rewarding and it's humbling we've been able to do something to put those smiles on their faces."
The Baan Tharn Namchai Foundation was set up in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami which killed 230,000 in 14 countries around the Indian Ocean. It cares for and educates 77 children and teenagers.
The Panthers' clothing drive was started by former captain Dwayne Keward and his Just Schoolwear company, which donated underwear for three to 18-year-olds and T-shirts for the older kids.
Fans added to the collection – donating enough new clothing to help the children for many years to come.
The items were boxed, courtesy of All Moves UK, and stored for free by FM Sudafix.
They were the transported from Nottingham to Khao Lak, Thailand, by Allied Pickfords.
Beauvale Events coordinated the operation.
Managing director Sarah Lines said: "It has been a long hard journey, but a worthwhile one when you see the smiles on the faces of the children who have benefited from the generosity of sports fans thousands of miles away.
Paul Bute, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Bangkok, was unable to attend the official handover of the clothes, but welcomed the delivery.
He said: "We have been most impressed that friends from thousands of miles away in Nottingham have been able to make a tangible difference to the lives of people here in southern Thailand. The have shown tremendous goodwill and generosity."