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London bombings charity closes

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) A charity set up to help victims of the July 2005 bombings in London has disbanded after handing out 12 million pounds.

The London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund (LBRCF), funded mainly from public and company donations, said today it had completed the task for which it had been set up.

The charity, which began distributing grants to the 325 injured and bereaved in the days following the bombings last year, paid its last instalment this month.

''I hope it will not have to be called on again, in London or anywhere else, but sadly that may not be the case in view of events around the world,'' said Gerald Oppenheim, chairman of the charity's board of trustees.

The main source of compensation for victims is the government's statutory criminal injuries compensation scheme, which has been criticised by victims for what they have called its sometimes derisory and slow payments.

By contrast the LBRCF has been praised for quick and compassionate delivery of funds.

Grants of 150,000 pounds were given to bereaved families with two dependent children, while 75,000 pounds was distributed to bereaved spouses or partners. Those relatives who were not a spouse or partner received 50,000 pounds.

Victims with serious injuries were given between 74,000 pounds and 200,000 pounds.

One unnamed victim who received help was quoted by the LBRCF as saying: ''You have done better than the British government.

Money won't be able to return my dad, but thanks for being there.'' The fund, established by the Mayor of London and the British Red Cross, also made allocations to two assistance groups: the 7th July Assistance Centre and Disaster Action.

The government donated 3.5 million pounds to the LBRCF and other big sums included 203,000 pounds from the U.S. and 32,000 pounds collected by workers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport during November 2005.

More than 100,000 pounds was given by Underground commuters in just one day in July 2005.

The bulk of the donations, eight million pounds, had been raised or pledged by August 2005 and distributed within a year.

The bombs on London's transport network claimed 52 innocent lives.

Reuters PDS VP0555

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