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L-Istrina sets new record

An all time record of €3,294,997 million were collected during today's L-Istrina, well over last year's record of €2,566,539.

The annual charity fundraiser, which kicked off  just after noon to raise money for people in need, came to an end at midnight.

This year’s edition started at SmartCity from where President George Abela appealed for a Smart Strina from SmartCity before he headed off to Verdala Palace to join the rest of the activities.

His wife Margaret, who took telephone calls at Verdala, appealed for donations.

In his message, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said he was proud of the Maltese and what they represented.

L-Istrina, he said, always uncovered the generosity of the Maltese.

“We lack natural resources but we are rich in values.

“At moments like this, we are proud to show our solidarity and think of others.”

Opposition leader Joseph Muscat said there could only be successes with l-Istrina.

If a life is lengthened by just one second that is a success.

Dr Muscat said that each year he was impressed by the number of people needing assistance who were normal viewers and contributors only the previous year.

As with previous years, the day was filled with a range of activities that include music, dancing and games.

Interviews with some people who would be benefiting from donations were aired throughout the day.

Those interviewed inclluded the parents of young Leah Xuereb, from Ghajnsielem, who recently received treatment in Texas with the help of the Community Chest Fund and the government following an appeal in The Times.

Her father said that through the people's assistance, his daughter Leah had been reborn.

A line-up of bands and musicians played at SmartCity until 6.30pm.

The event could be followed on L-Istrina’s Facebook page and donations can also be made through the new website l-istrina.org.

One can also donate €25 by calling 5180 2012, €15 on 5170 2011, €10 on 5160 2027, €5 on 5150 2026 or by SMS on  5061 9201 (€11.65) or 5061 8918 (€6.99).

One of the more substantial donations was from the HSBC Malta Foundation, one of the event's main sponsors, which donated €100,000.

HSBC supplemented its donation by additional funds raised during 2012 through various other activities, including a cross-country triathlon which raised €6,000 and a poinsettia-for-charity initiative which raised €5,000.

Another big donation was from Bank of Valletta which presented €210,000 raised in its Piggy Bank campaign.

Around 6,000 piggy banks were distributed to schools and shopping outlets.

The bank also supports l-Istrina through Rockestra, the August Moon Ball and Tisjir mill-Qalb. It also encourages staff to take part in the President’s Fun Run – with a record 890 taking part this year.

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