A Japanese restaurant owner who lost her 10-year-old god son and two close friends in the tsunami disaster raised £9,000 in one day by serving up food parcels to the people of Hammersmith.
Chefs at Suzu in Hammersmith Road cooked up 180kg of rice to make thousands of £1 and £2 boxes of sushi, which they sold last Thursday to hordes of office workers eager to help the relief appeal.
A throng of hungry customers was waiting for the doors to open at 11am, and staff worked solidly and without pay until 9pm, with all proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross.
Suzu's suppliers also donated all the produce to make sure all the cash went straight to the appeal.
Owner Makiko Matthews decided to stage the event after being hit personally by the March 11 tragedy, which devastated parts of her home country and is now thought to have killed up to 25,000 people.
Her god son, Daisuke Ishikawa, was swept away by the tsunami, soon after his 10 th birthday, along with an old school friend who used to be Mrs Matthews' doubles tennis partner, and another who disappeared while visiting a supermarket in one of the worst-hit areas.
Mrs Matthews said: "I was aiming for £15,000 but we had four rice cookers and two broke before lunchtime, so we couldn't cook rice properly. We had to close for an hour in the afternoon because we had run out of food and had to make more.
"It was an amazing day and we had so much support from everybody from the big offices here – Sony Ericsson, Disney and L'Oreal. The head of Sony comes here a lot for his lunch so I had a chat with him and he sent a message out to all his staff. I want to thank everyone for their support.
"My only regret is that if I hadn't lost my god son or a close friend, I might not have done this."
The Hammersmith-based mother of three was also hoping to make thousands more from a similar event tomorrow (25) at her daughter's school, St James Girls School in West Kensington.
She will also add to the relief appeal coffers by selling more sushi at the Hope for Japan concert at the Royal College of Music in Kensington on Wednesday, April 6.
"I didn't think I would be this active, but a lot of people supported me in giving supplies, so as long as I have food left I will continue and try to increase the money for the Japanese Red Cross." she said.