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Lucky Diane Cole was handed the keys to a brand new car by none other than the Mayor of Havering.

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Diane, of Hornchurch, picked up the Volkswagen High Up! on Monday after scooping first prize in the St Francis Hospice winter raffle – which raised £82,000 for the Havering-atte-Bower charity.

And Cllr Lynden Thorpe, who fundraises for St Francis in her role as mayor, put in an appearance to personally give Diane the keys at Romford’s Inchcape Volkswagen showroom.

Diane said: “A very dear friend, Gordon Sanders, the former headmaster at Ripple Junior School in Barking, was cared for by St Francis Hospice before he died from mesothelioma caused by asbestos dust aged just 57.

“Every year I buy a book of tickets in memory of Gordon. Although I’ve won the top prize, St Francis Hospice is the main winner and it’s great to know so much money has been raised for their work.”

Brentvvood woman Linda Cockett was the runner up, receiving £1,000.

Cllr Thorpe said: “I’d like to thank everyone for supporting this year’s raffle. St Francis Hospice is such an incredible place that provides so much for the local area. Long may it continue.”

Stephen Greenslade, sales manager at Inchcape Volkswagen, said: “The charity does some amazing work in the area and it’s great to be able to play a small part in raising so much money.”

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