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Australian radio station cancels Christmas party and vows to donate half a million dollars to family of nurse who died after taking hoax call2Day FM had cancelled all advertising, but will now bring ti back and donate profits to familySydney-based station has also cancelled Christmas party
14:06 GMT, 11 December 2012
The Australian radio station that made the hoax call that preceded the apparent suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha is to donate $500,000 (326,000) from its advertising profits to her family.
Sydney-based 2Day FM again expressed 'deep regret' over the death of Miss Saldanha, which took place shortly after she fell for the trick by two DJs at King Edward VII Hospital in London.
The radio station's owners had cancelled all of its advertising after broadcasting the call, in which Mel Greig and Michael Christian pretended to be royals checking up on the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated for acute morning sickness.
Bereft: All the profits from the radio station's advertising will be donated to nurse Jacintha Saldanha's family. Pictured centre, her husband Benedict Barboza visits Westminster yesterday with their children Lisha, left, 14, and Junal, right, 16
Tragic: Miss Saldanha died after being duped into believing she was talking to the Queen about the welfare of the Duchess of Cambridge, who was in King Edward VII Hospital with acute morning sickness
There had been talk of 2Day FM shutting down completely, but instead owners Southern Cross Austereo said advertising will now resume and all profits until the end of the year be donated to a fund that will directly benefit Miss Saldanha's family.
The company said the family could expect to receive a 'minimum contribution' of $500,000.
Rhys Holleran, the company's chief executive officer, repeated how sorry they were for what had happened.
'It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family.
'We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time.
'The company today reiterates that it is deeply saddened by this tragic and unforeseen event and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.'
The announcement follows a decision by Austereo today to cancel the 2Day FM's Christmas party out of respect for Miss Saldanha, and donate the cash to two Australian charities that handle emotional, life threatening problems.
Christmas party cancelled: The DJs who made the call – Michael Christian and Mel Greig – appear on TV yesterday to explain their actions
As much as 8,000 had been set aside to entertain between 200 and 250 of the radio station's staff, before executives decided the party would be inappropriate.
Before the nurse's death, Mr Christian said he expected the hoax would be the highlight of his career, and might have expected jubilant celebration at the end of year party.
Instead, a company spokesperson said today: 'Cancellation of the party was entirely out of respect for the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, and her family. This is not a time for celebration at the radio station.'
The party was due to be held at a trendy nightclub called the Oxford Art Factory on Sydney's popular nightlife strip, Oxford Street.
Lord Glenarthur, chairman of the hospital where Miss Saldanha worked, today welcomed news of Southern Cross Media Group's donation to the family.
He said: 'Jacintha Saldanha was an outstanding nurse who was much loved by everyone at King Edward VII’s Hospital.
'After discussion with her family, we have established the Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund to benefit her husband and children at this difficult time. I am pleased to announce that many donations have already been made from around the world.
'I have today read that Southern Cross Media Group have pledged to make a minimum donation of $500,000 Australian Dollars to an appropriate fund. We would certainly welcome such a donation.'
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