Hampshire & Isle of Wight

118 service to raise Isle of Wight charity cash

Lucie Blackman (picture from the family)
Image caption Lucie Blackman was found dead near Tokyo in 2001

The father of a woman murdered while working as a bar hostess in Japan has launched a directory inquiries line to benefit charities on the Isle of Wight.

The idea came from Tim Blackman who established the Lucie Blackman Trust in memory of his 21-year-old daughter who was found dead in 2001.

Mr Blackman, who lives in Ryde, said it could "make a lot of difference".

Calls to 118 469 cost 73p from a BT landline with 10p profit going to island charities and community groups.

The former air-hostess vanished in Tokyo on 1 July 2000. Businessman Joji Obara was later convicted of abducting Miss Blackman and dismembering and concealing her body.

Her father later established the Lucie Blackman Trust to offer safety advice to people working and travelling overseas.

Island's line

The 118 469 number spells out IOW on a mobile keypad.

Money raised from calls, answered at a national call centre, is being given to the Isle of Wight Community Fund to be distributed among small volunteer groups and charities on the island.

Mr Blackman said: "Islanders are very keen on things which support the Isle of Wight. It's an organic idea - people can start using it and know it is benefiting the island."

Mr Blackman said he hoped the system could generate £10,000 per year.

The idea started during the trust's work with telecoms companies in developing mobile phone technology to ensure young people stay safe while travelling abroad.

Charities including Christian Aid and Oxfam already have directory enquiries numbers.

The trust is now looking for sponsorship to help promote the service.

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