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Not forgotten . . . First National office administrator Wendy Brook (left) and Gore and Clutha Women's Refuge support worker Tarina Wyatt admire some of the more than 50 handbags dropped off at the First National office for the Love Grace handbag appeal. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore and Clutha Women’s Refuge manager Sam Munroe is thrilled with the response of the community to the Love Grace handbag appeal.

Love Grace is a charitable campaign set up in the United Kingdom by the family of Grace Millane who was travelling in New Zealand and murdered on the eve of her 22nd birthday in 2018.

People could give to the appeal by donating a handbag filled with toiletries, luxury items and essential items.

More than 50 handbags have been left at the First National office which is the Gore dropping-off centre for the appeal.

The appeal ends on Friday.

Ms Munroe said the response to the appeal was “fantastic”.

“Our women, our clients, they come to us with nothing, absolutely nothing, ” Ms Munroe said.

“They have to get out of where they are without taking anything.”

To be able to give women a handbag filled with gifts at a low point in their lives was “huge”.

“The quality of the handbags is amazing and the quality of the gifts inside them is fantastic.”

Items including handbags were often taken from women in an abusive relationship.

“As a woman you know how important it is to have your bag and your own things.”

The gift of bags was another example of the generous nature of the community, she said.

Donations from the Queenstown drop-off point also came to Gore because the town did not have a women’s refuge.

She hoped that it would give the Millane family comfort to know Grace was not forgotten and the handbags in her memory were helping others, she said.

First National office administrator Wendy Brook has been overseeing the appeal in Gore.

Mrs Brook said individuals and businesses had supported the appeal.

“We have been amazed at the generosity of the local community,” Mrs Brook said.

“A lot of people have just connected with the Love Grace appeal and what the Millanes have lost, and felt the need to donate, which is lovely.”