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Baby Eappen fund raises meagre pounds 286.

The foundation established in memory of Matthew Eappen, the baby killed by au pair Louise Woodward, has raised only pounds 286 since it was launched across the US earlier this month.

Since its incorporation in March, the Matty Eappen Foundation has had one board meeting, at which members voted on such housekeeping items as letterhead style and an official logo.

They chose a green caterpillar, Matthew's favourite toy.

On June 16, the day Woodward's manslaughter conviction and sentence of time already served in prison was upheld by Massachusetts' highest court, the foundation's establishment was announced nationwide.

Since then, just pounds 286 has come in, according to treasurer Ms Linda Pecharich, a friend of the Eappen family.

"We need to do some fundraising," said Ms Sue Pipal, the foundation's secretary and long-time friend of the Eappens. "Even an ad in a newspaper would annihilate what we've raised already."

Pecharich said a lack of nationwide publicity, coupled with slow-starting fundraising efforts, were reasons for the meagre donation rate.

This week the foundation's coffers stand at pounds 7,840. About pounds 6,000 of that money came from donations Deborah and Sunil Eappen received during the trial and protracted appeals process, Ms Pecharich said.

From the time between the foundation's incorporation and its official announcement, donations numbered just under pounds 1,800.

Contributions to Ms Woodward's defence fund reached over pounds 240,000, said the Rev Ken Davey, the vicar who managed the appeal fund in Woodward's home village of Elton in Cheshire.

The foundation, based in Illinois, was established to educate the public about child abuse - particularly shaken-baby syndrome - and provide support to families of victims.

Matthew Eappen died on February 9, 1997, five days after Woodward called an emergency number and said he had stopped breathing. Prosecutors maintained that the baby's injuries were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 2, 1998
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