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Thursday, March 31, 2011

English lord gives $250,000 to quake appeal

English lord gives $250,000 to quake appeal

Last updated 10:47 31/03/2011
Lord Michael Ashcroft, the Englishman whose reward offer helped recover Victoria Cross medals stolen from the Waiouru army museum, has given $250,000 to the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

Ashcroft said the world was going through turbulent times, but few communities had suffered more markedly than Christchurch.

"New Zealand is a great nation, one which is close to my heart," he said.

"But New Zealand is small in terms of its population and its resources and it desperately needs help to tackle the monumental task of rebuilding which lies ahead. I am delighted to have been able to play a part, and I ask everyone to consider helping where they can."

Ashcroft previously offered $200,000 for the recovery of 96 medals, including nine Victoria Crosses, which were stolen from the Army Museum in Waiouru in 2007.

The theft of the medals, including New Zealand soldier Charles Upham's Victoria Cross and bar, outraged the country.

When the medals were recovered, Ashcroft offered another $200,000 reward, for information leading to a conviction.

In October 2009, a man with name suppression was sentenced to six years for the medals theft and for a further five years for unrelated burglaries.

He was described in court as a career criminal.

It was not known how much of either reward was paid.

Ashcroft was also behind the 2009 establishment in New Zealand of the Crimestoppers programme where people call anonymously with tips on criminals and crime.

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