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The boss of an accountancy firm has issued a rallying call to fellow business owners – after setting up a fund to raise money for the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal.

Paul Hornby, the Managing Director of J F Hornby & Co has pledged to match pound for pound every donation made by company chiefs or individuals until March 5.

A series of devastating earthquakes hit southern Turkey and north-west Syria earlier this month, killing 35,000 people and injuring many more.

Paul said: “It has been devastating to see the levels of destruction, despair and death caused by the catastrophic quakes in Turkey and Syria.

“I have been moved by the footage on news channels in recent days and believe that if we are in a position to support, then we should.

“I know that the south Cumbria community has a strong track record of supporting humanitarian aid efforts and right now, the people of Turkey and Syria need our help.

“A special bank account has been set up for all donations so we can monitor what is flowing in and what level of match funding we need to provide.

“I know times are tough at the moment for many businesses and families but I would urge everyone to consider donating what they can to this appeal.”

Nine hours apart and with magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter scale, the quakes rocked Turkey and Syria and were the region’s strongest in nearly a century. They were followed by more than 300 smaller aftershocks.

More than 6,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone, many with residents still inside them.

An international rescue and aid effort has since been launched, with efforts made more difficult due to sub-zero temperatures, and a lack of shelter, medical supplies and food.

Paul said: “It’s a disaster on an unthinkable scale. I simply want to make a difference and hope others will join me.”

JF Hornby & Co will match fund donations up to a total of £12,500 via the J F Hornby Foundation.

Donations can be sent to Natwest, account number, 56622341, sort code 01-08-93. Account name J F Hornby Limited T/A J F Hornby & Co Clients Account.