Stephen Fry boosts Japanese fundraising in St Andrews

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ACTOR and comedian Stephen Fry has given fundraising efforts in and around St Andrews for victims of the Japanese earthquake a massive boost.

It was revealed that the author and television presenter had praised the efforts of Strathkinness teenager Esther Bowman on his hugely popular twitter account.

Last week the Citizen reported that Esther, a pupil at St Leonards School, was being sponsored to make over 1000 origami cranes. She has already raised almost £750.

And the donations were boosted when Fry tweeted his admiration and provided a link to Esther’s JustGiving charity website.

“I love the human race. Crane folding for Japan. Sounds so daft, but is actually rather beautiful”, he posted.

Meanwhile, efforts by students and local businesses to raise money to support the relief work going on in Japan are continuing.

And there was some much-needed good news for Japanese student Motoko Kaneko when she discovered a friend who had been missing since the quake is, in fact, alive and well.

He was in Ishinomaki, in Miyagi Prefecture, when the tsunami struck and devastated the town in north east Japan.

Motoko was worried after she was unable to contact him but found out this week he had survived.

“He contacted his friends online to say he had survived and it is a big relief,” she said.

“He just told everyone that he had lost his phone so he couldn’t let us know what had happened.

‘‘The whole area has been destroyed, there is nothing left. I have seen pictures of where he lived and it is just completely washed out.”

Fellow student Sakurako Watanabe has decided to shave her head tonight (Friday) in the Student’ Union main bar to raise money and highlight the problems the Japanese people are now facing.

The third year student, originally from Tokyo, struggled to get through to her family when the tsunami struck but eventually received an email reassuring her that they were all safe.

As she watched TV coverage of the disaster, she decided to do whatever she could to help out.

She told the Citizen: “We were crying watching what was happening and I just couldn’t do anything to help. Later on, when we were thinking of what to do, someone suggested I shave all my hair off. It started as a joke but now it’s happening.”

Anyone wanting to help the student group with their fundraising efforts can contact them on JapanReliefRecovery@gmail.com.