Life-changing tsunami appeal

Pictured:  Married couple Steven and Chizuko Garson with kids Louie and Mio who have raised �4,000 to send resources to the victims of the Japanese tsunami.

Pictured: Married couple Steven and Chizuko Garson with kids Louie and Mio who have raised �4,000 to send resources to the victims of the Japanese tsunami.

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A COURAGEOUS Featherstone family, who feared for relatives and friends when a tsunami hit Japan last year, has raised £4,000 to help rebuild the lives of people there.

Steven and Chizuko Grason – who lived in the quake-hit city Sendai until returning to West Yorkshire five years ago – raised the cash over the last 11 months by holding fundraising events across the Five Towns.

Mr Grason, 40, said: “When we heard the news we were absolutely devastated and worried sick, so many homes and lives were ruined.

“Chizuko has an old high school friend in a town called Ofunato who lost her home, and her family are now living in temporary housing built after the tsunami.

“We decided to raise the money straight away and help the people over there by sending cash directly to areas which we knew were in a desperate state.”

The couple, of Halton Street, have already sent £2,000 to Ryouri Elementary School in Ofunato to replace maths and Japanese language teaching resources lost in the tsunami.

The rest of the cash will be used to help residents of a fishing village in Motoyoshi rebuild their businesses and replace vital equipment.

Mr Grason added: “The tsunami not only killed people and destroyed homes, it also stole people’s livelihoods.

“The fishermen’s boats and harbours were destroyed leaving them no means to support themselves.

“On March 11 it will be a year since the tsunami hit and we want to make one final push to get in as much cash as we can to send over there.”

The father-of-two organised fundraising events at various venues across the district, including at his daughter’s school, North Featherstone J&I, and at Wakefield’s St Michael’s Primary School, where he teaches.

The family thanked everyone involved in their appeal, including Featherstone’s Green Lane WMC and local businesses who donated raffle prizes. Email sgrason@hotmail.com to buy a special appeal wristband, priced £1 each.