Ipswich: Mum’s heartache as charity is caught up in supercar con

A MUM has spoken of her heartache after a businessman who promised to help raise money to send her daughter to America for a vital operation vanished.

A car finance executive from Scotland contacted Peter and Sarah Lawrance after hearing of the plight of their six-year-old daughter, Brooke.

He offered to arrange ten three-hour rides in supercars like Ferraris and Bugattis as prizes they could offer in a money-raising auctions.

But just hours before the successful bidders were due to collect their prize of a ride in an exotic sports car, he stopped answering e-mails or Twitter messages.

Mrs Lawrance, of Morland Road, Ipswich, said she was devastated and hoped people wouldn’t think badly of her for believing the businessman’s claims.

Inspirational Brooke was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby and has had to use a wheelchair since she was two.

The Brooke’s Wish to Walk appeal was established by her family who need to raise �70,000 for a potentially life-changing operation.

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The mother-of-four said: “He first got in contact with us on Twitter and he asked for my phone number because he said he wanted to help the charity.

“We thought he was so generous for offering to help. I believed what he said because he was telling me he had a child who had died from cerebral palsy.

“We auctioned off two of the rides – one at a golf day and the other at an auction event – and now we have been forced to tell those people that the rides won’t happen.”

The finance executive had said he would personally drive from Scotland and even arranged to give Brooke a ride in a Ferrari Enzo.

But Mrs Lawrance said she hasn’t heard from the businessman since August and they are now unable to trace him.

“It’s devastating really. How can anyone do this to a charity?

“I was really upset at first but now I’m more angry about how someone can do this and use my little girl like this.

“I hope that people don’t think badly of me or the charity because there was nothing I could have done. I trusted this man.”

Brooke and her family will be travelling to St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, America, for the life-changing selective dorsal rhizotomy operation on November 15.

The Lawrance family have been fundraising to pay for the operation since last October. To date, they have raised �60,000.

The website of the businessman’s Edinburgh-based company lists him as a client relationship manager, but the 0800 phone number given is no longer in use and there is no reply from his e-mail address.

To donate to Brooke’s Wish to Walk appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/brookeswishtowalk or www.brookeswishtowalk.co.uk