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Cratfield lead theft reward cash supports charity's work helping people in India

PUBLISHED: 12:10 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:10 22 May 2017

Banyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABON

Banyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABON

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A cash reward from a campaign to stop thieves desecrating Suffolk's sacred churches has been used to fund a teacher's salary to help disadvantaged people in India.

The East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press has given a 
reward to Stephen Peet after his  alertness led
 to the conviction of a roof lead thief   
the only one caught so far.
 Pictured from left is Alison Peet, Stephen Peet,Terry Hunt and Sue Seabon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown.The East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press has given a reward to Stephen Peet after his alertness led to the conviction of a roof lead thief  the only one caught so far. Pictured from left is Alison Peet, Stephen Peet,Terry Hunt and Sue Seabon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown.

Stephen Peet, a former treasurer at St Mary’s Church in Cratfield, near Halesworth, uncovered evidence which helped police catch the lead thief who caused £30,000 of damage to the village’s 15th Century place of worship.

The reward money he received through the Stop the Lead Thieves campaign, launched by our sister paper’s the East Anglian Daily Times and Eastern Daily Press in response to a spate of crimes, was immediately donated to charity.

Cratfield Church, where the lead was stolen 
from. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown.Cratfield Church, where the lead was stolen from. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown.

The Friends of the Banyan Tree, a charity based in the village, said it would use Mr Peet’s donation to support projects in Kerala, southern India.

Charity leaders Sue Seabon and Peter Baker recently returned from a self-funded trip to see the project in action when they took the opportunity to show some coverage the campaign received from the EADT in December.

Banyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABONBanyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABON

During their stay they learned Mr Peet’s donation would cover the cost of a teacher. Asha, 22, has been a teacher at the Centre for Dalit Studies and Action project – supported by the charity – at Idinjar for 18 months. She is from the deprived tribal community. But having excelled during project-led tuition groups she went to college and attained a degree in communicative English.

Returning from their visit, Mr Baker said the project was “inspiring” and a “privilege” to be part of. “The project is working well with an enthusiastic, dedicated staff and motivated, keen and hard working children,” he added. “It is being increasingly recognised as a significant part of the community and gaining a widening appreciation.”

Banyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABONBanyan Tree charity supporters from Suffolk took copies of the East Anglian Daily Times to the charity's operations in India. Picture: SUE SEABON

Mrs Seabon said while they wanted to expand the project, their current concern was to maintain the level of support, which faced challenges due to depreciation in the value of the pound. “We support the charity as an acknowledgement of how fortunate we are,” she added. “Our society has its problems, but nevertheless we are still a wealthy and very fortunate country.”

The charity spends 95pc of the funds raised on projects in India. It is hoped future projects could include a day centre for older people and funding increased doctors’ visits to its health centre.

To find out more visit thebanyantree.org.uk

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