Wisbech Town Council gives a helping hand to local hand sanitiser heroes, Fen Spirits
An emotional appeal by Wisbech businessman Anthony Winterbourne for help to fund his voluntary work to provide hand sanitiser to the area's most vulnerable has prompted action from the town council.
As reported in the Citizen on Wednesday, Anthony, who runs family-owned Fen Spirits in Mile Tree Lane, has turned over his distillery from making specialist fins and vodka to creating hand sanitiser using the firm's left over alcohol.
He posted on Facebook news of his decision to provide the essential hygiene product and demand soared as supplies in shops and supermarkets locally ran out.
However, on Tuesday (17) Anthony posted an emotional video on Facebook explaining how he was inundated with emails from people desperate for supplies.
In a tearful update on his one-man operation Anthony appealed for businesses "with bigger pockets" than me to help out with the spiralling costs.
Waving a leprechaun outfit Anthony said he had planned to dress up for St Patrick's Day, but then went on to explain how he had awoken to hundreds of emails.
He said: "if you could read some of the messages they're absolutely awful the situation people are are in is crazy.
Katie Brown, who works at Fen Spirits as a part time sales administrator set up a Gofundme page after witnessing Anthony's upset and within three days the appeal had hit nearly £6,000, after the appeal hit a chord with the public.
She said, “I saw how upset Anthony was getting that he could only do so much out of his own pocket. He wanted to help everyone, we were getting so many calls, messages and emails with some heart-breaking stories so I decided to set up the GoFundme page to give him a little more help. I never dreamed it would go this well. I can’t thank everyone enough. I am currently in isolation as my son is poorly, but can’t wait to get back to work with Anthony and Gemma (co-distiller)”.
Anthony had previously told the Citizen he was not charging for the sanitiser adding "there was more important things than making money", but he was also overwhelmed by those grateful for his help who were making donations, and that cash is also being used to keep up production.
Anthony has also received support from other gin distilleries offering their gin, hand sanitiser bottles by the 1000s and British Sugar have provided the sugar for distilling Anthony’s gin.
When town Councillor David Oliver (chairman of the council’s policy and resources committee) spotted an online post about Anthony’s incredible work, he approached the the council's clerk, Terry Jordan and fellow councillors suggesting that a donation would be helpful to this worthy cause.
And today (Friday) the mayor Councillor Michael Hill, presented the cheque for £1,000 to Fen Spirits at their distillery in the grounds of the Secret Garden Touring Park.
To donate visit: Gofundme
Read more here: Generosity in the midst of chaos
More by this authorSarah Cliss