Clowning around brightens day for sick kids

CLOWN doctors Dr Dot and Dr Very Good made a highly anticipated return to the Launceston General Hospital yesterday, expertly provoking smiles from sick children.

The doctors _ otherwise known as Leigh Tesch and Tanya Maxwell _ are only able to visit Launceston four times a year, but still knew several patients and parents quite well.

Clown Doctors fund-raising manager Ian Doig said the organisation hoped a new fund-raiser would help the clowns visit the LGH more often.

Mr Doig said Cadbury would help the organisation take roadside collections throughout Tasmania until Saturday, as part of their annual Miles for Smiles fund-raiser.

``We hope to raise $50,000, and then Cadbury will dollar-match that,'' Mr Doig said.

``Basically the money we collect pays for the program, because we don't get any government funding, but we provide this service to the hospitals free-of-charge.

``It's a vital service because the Clown Doctors provide that fun and laughter and give kids and families and staff a bit of a change from the austere nature of the hospital.''

Mr Doig said collectors, in purple shirts, would be by the West Tamar Highway in Launceston today, and on the Midland Highway at Campbell Town tomorrow and Saturday.

For more information, or to donate to Clown Doctors, visit www.clowndoctors.

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