With the dramatic and devastating events that have happened to my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand, over the past 6 months, I have found it difficult to come to terms with nature causing such hurt and suffering. Lives have been lost, businesses and homes destroyed and livelihoods shattered in just a few moments in a city I love and will soon be returning to.

I found myself struggling to sleep, feeling depressed and utterly useless trying to find ways of helping my ruined city whilst living so far away. I attended the recent memorial service at Westminster Cathedral organised by expat Kiwis trying to find a way to comfort each other and provide some help from so far away in London. This got me thinking about how I could help. With my time here in the UK coming to an end and an ExtZy account with credits to spare, I knew it was time to cash the prize Zoints in. I therefore decided to donate the entirety of my winnings to the British Red Cross New Zealand Earthquake Appeal.

Christchurch has lost most of its heritage buildings and 50% of the central business district; though these scars are of bricks and mortar, the deeper ones remain with those who have lost family and loved ones, making it a different city I return to. However I am deeply proud of the way the community has pulled together in the face of such adversity and by the resilience shown by my fellow Cantabrians. I am therefore confident that with a little help from everyone, Christchurch can be restored to its former glory and its people can continue to show the world what makes it a great city.

Simon Strez