Monthly Archives: January 2015

Charity call for wartime artefacts

Patrick with Samurai Sword

COFEPOW member Patrick Toosey with a Samurai sword brought back by his father.

COFEPOW, a national charity dedicated to keeping alive the memory of prisoners of war held in the Far East in World War Two, is asking people to hunt out any mementoes or artefacts passed down by parents and grandparents from their time in captivity.

2015 sees the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Japan and COFEPOW, a charity set up to perpetuate the memory of Far East Prisoners of War and raise awareness of the suffering they endured, is keen to track down any artefacts such as letters, photographs or diaries brought back from the Far East by prisoners of war.

COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War) was founded by Carol Cooper, the daughter of a prisoner of war who discovered her father’s wartime diary advertised for sale and decided to set up a charity to keep alive the memories of Far East prisoners of war (FEPOWs).

Seventy years on from VJ Day, the charity wants to make sure as much precious material as possible is recorded to commemorate this important anniversary, to help recognise the enormous contribution made by individual FEPOWs. So, COFEPOW is now looking for local people who might have almost forgotten artefacts hidden away.

Says Keith Andrews of COFEPOW: “Many of us have artefacts and mementoes stored away that were passed down by our parents and grandparents from their time in the Far East. We want to find more of these valuable artefacts to record them for future generations, and that is why we asking local people to help.”

COFEPOW member Patrick Toosey from the Wirral is backing the initiative: “When my father, Brigadier Toosey, returned from the Far East he brought back a Samurai sword from one of his Japanese captors. When I was a child, my father didn’t mention the war and what he went through, but this sword is now a permanent reminder to me of his suffering.”

Keith added: “The artefacts people have are often not valuable in financial terms, but they do mean a great deal to the families of prisoners of war. Anyone interested in letting us know what they have will be helping us preserve this valuable archive material for the future.”

If you would like to help or to find out more, please visit

Charity toy appeal gets a head start for Christmas 2015!

Bolton Lions Toy Appeal

Michael Crompton from Bolton Lions collecting the toys from Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton.

A toy collection at a laser clinic in Bolton for the Caring Christmas Appeal, run by Bolton Lions and The Bolton News, proved so successful that a big bin of toys has now been donated to next year’s appeal.

Thanks to the generosity of customers and staff, Laserase Bolton, which is located in the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital, collected three bins of toys for this year’s appeal. However the toys kept coming in, so Bolton Lions have decided to put the remainder towards next year’s appeal – giving them a head start for Christmas 2015.

Customers at Laserase Bolton include people coming in for skin rejuvenation treatments, tattoo, thread vein and unwanted hair removal, acne and birth mark treatments.

It is the 33rd year that Bolton Lions have run the appeal and this year saw a record number of needy children supplied with toys. 1,063 children, all from the Bolton area, received six to seven mostly new toys each.

John Crompton, Treasurer of Bolton Lions, said: “We were very pleased with the toys provided in the Laserase collection. These toys when collected go to our unit in Bolton, to be sorted into age categories and then put into large bags to be distributed to children. These bags go to schools, children’s homes, social workers and children’s centres, which provide us with lists of underprivileged children.”

Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, said: “We’re delighted to have helped collect toys for the Caring Christmas Appeal and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our customers and staff. We hope that the toys which came in after the end of this year’s appeal will help to get next year’s appeal off to a flying start!

“We’re looking forward to taking part again and to helping the appeal break new records next time, with even more toys donated.”

If you would like to help Laserase Bolton and the British Lions in next year’s appeal or want further information about Laserase ring 01204 570900 or visit the website Bolton Lions can be contacted via their website