Post blunder loses charity thousands

NILALM110412C1 - Treetops hospice mailing error from left Lottery marketing assistant Fiona Wysock and lottery manager Melissa de Vos

NILALM110412C1 - Treetops hospice mailing error from left Lottery marketing assistant Fiona Wysock and lottery manager Melissa de Vos

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A ROYAL Mail blunder has cost a charity, which looks after terminally ill Erewash residents, at least £10,000 furious fundraisers have claimed.

Treetops Hospice, in Risley, dispatched 14,200 books of raffle tickets for its annual Spring Draw back in January – but hundreds of people received theirs only in the past two weeks – more than two months late and way past the raffle deadline of March 18.

Charity bosses forked out £2,630 for Royal Mail couriers to collect the tickets from the printers in Stanton-by-Dale on January 11 – to ensure most recipients had their tickets in under a week.

They were hoping to get back at least 10,000 of the £1 tickets for its annual prize draw, having made £18,000 from last year’s prize draw.

But a Treetops spokesman said they received 100 calls in two days from angry residents who had received their tickets too late – many of whom demanded the charity take them off its mailing list.

Treetops chief executive George Cameron said: “I want to reassure our supporters that we organised the postage of the tickets well in advance of the March deadline.

“Despite having no control over the late delivery of those letters, I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused, and would urge people to continue supporting Treetops Hospice – we really do need your help.”

Charity supporter Mavis Webster of Cotmanhay Road, rang Treetops to complain after receiving her tickets days after the closing date.

“It’s absolutely dreadful,” she said.

“That’s how they get the money for the good work they do.

“It’s disgusting that a charity should have to suffer – £10,000 is an awful lot of money.”

She said that her late husband was postmaster in Ilkeston.

“He would have hit the roof,” she said.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: “We are concerned to hear of the difficulties that customers have experienced with their mailing.

“Our customer services team are in contact with Treetops Hospice and discussing how the situation can be best resolved.”

This year’s raffle made £2,292 profit – down nearly £9,000 on last year’s £11,253 profit from the 2010 raffle.

Treetops Hospice relies on donations to provide palliative care to people from across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.