By: Pramod Thomas
TOP British celebrities have joined the “Giving Shoesday” campaign launched by a UK charity to help people affected by leprosy.
Lepra‘s campaign has raised over £20,000 so far and received over 3,300 pairs of shoes. More funds will be collected from the online ‘Shoesday auction’, which began on 30 November, and is due to end on Sunday (12).
Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, Judi Dench, Jo Brand, Martin Clunes OBE, Dame Judi Dench, David Flatman, Colin Jackson CBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Tony Robinson, Hannah Cockroft MBE and Stephen Fry have donated their shoes for the charity auction, a statement said.
With bids starting at just £40, the auction, hosted by Dawsons auction house, allows potential bidders to view the lots online and place a maximum bid. As the selling fee is waived 100 per cent of the sale price will go to Lepra.
The charity operates in India, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to change the lives of people affected by leprosy.
Geoff Prescott, chief executive of Lepra, said: “Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases; curable with a course of antibiotics yet devastating if left undiagnosed. Providing custom-made shoes is life-changing for people affected by leprosy; people who face extreme prejudice and discrimination. I am grateful that so many much-admired and recognised personalities have rallied to our cause by supporting our Shoesday event.”
According to the statement, more than 7 million people across the world are estimated to be affected by leprosy and 600 new cases are diagnosed each day.
Last year Lepra’s shoe-technicians travelled over 24,000 miles and created 25,308 pairs of shoes. Each pair of shoes are free to the person affected and are created by highly-skilled, local shoe technicians.
Jimmy Innes becomes CEO
Lepra has appointed Jimmy Innes as its new CEO, effective 10 January 2022. He succeeds Geoff Prescott who led the charity since 2017.
“In Jimmy Innes, we have chosen a proven leader with a deep understanding of international development, the disability agenda and a clear vision for the future. He appreciates the crucial role Lepra plays both here in the UK and overseas” said Suzanne McCarthy, chair of the Lepra board of trustees.
Earlier, Innes was CEO at ADD International since 2017, working for disability rights and inclusion in Africa and Asia. He has also been a country director for BBC Media Action in Tanzania, and Restless Development in Uganda. He holds an MA in African studies and a BA in Geography with development studies.
Innes said, “I am thrilled to take the helm of this deeply respected organisation as we near Lepra’s centenary year in 2024. I am very much looking forward to leading and living Lepra’s value-driven approach in my new role, working alongside my colleagues in the UK, India and Bangladesh who do extraordinary work, every day, in support of our vision of a world free from prejudice and disability due to leprosy”.