Secret donor will keep charity’s doors open

John O'Brien, chairman of LOST visits Aberhill Primary School
John O'Brien, chairman of LOST visits Aberhill Primary School
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A SOLVENT abuse charity faced with the prospect of closing its doors because of a lack of funding has been saved, thanks to an anonymous £10,000 donation.

John O’Brien, chairman of LOST, said the organisation was on the verge of sending staff and volunteers home and giving up its Leven office, even as the organisation reached its 10-year anniversary.

But last week, Mr O’Brien recieved a letter from the anonymous donor, who said she had been touched by the story of how he set up the charity following the death of his 16-year-old son Lee O’Brien through solvent abuse, and called Mr O’Brien an inspiration.

Mr O’Brien said: “The letter went on to say the work LOST did was too good for it to close down and asked if we would therefore accept a donation of £10,000.”

The gesture has meant the charity will be able to operate and meet the rent on its Leven office until 2014.

Following the news of the donation, Mr O’Brien said he now felt confident about the future.

Mr O’Brien said: “I was delighted to receive this donation.

“When I lost my son, my world ended.

“But when you see human kindness like this, it’s inspiring. It’s given me the strength and motivation to keep going.”

He added: “We were expecting to have to close in April or May.

“We were ready to send the staff and volunteers home because we just didn’t have the funding to stay open.

“This means we’ll be able to continue our education work at schools throughout Fife, and the support and advice we offer from our office in Leven and through our 24-hour helpline.

“It gives us the chance over the next two years to develop the organisation and look for long-term funding.”

In the week LOST found out about the donation, Mr O’Brien visited Aberhill Primary School to talk with pupils about the dangers of solvent abuse.

As well as providing education outreach and advice and support, LOST has worked to raise awareness of the risks of solvent abuse and successfully campaigned for legislation making it illegal for lighter fluid to be sold to children.