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"I live too far away to drop in during the camp season," Fred Astmann wrote in the message that accompanied his donation to The Buffalo News-Rotary Club Crippled Children's Camp Fund.

"But I have such great memories of my counselor years," the Cherry Hill, N.J., resident added.

Cradle Beach memories of former campers and counselors nourish the prospects of new ones.

Catherine Goldman of Buffalo sent her check, remarking that she often has referred youngsters to Cradle Beach for the experience and encouragement it offers.

These gifts were among the $2,910.90 donations that lifted this 45th annual fund drive to $33,084.79.

The money will be used to pay the way for 800 boys and girls from 8 to 17 years who will be invited to spend nearly two weeks at Cradle Beach during its four sessions in July and August. Half the youngsters have a physical disability, and the remainder are selected for other compelling reasons.

Cradle Beach Camp is a 40-plus acre summer camp off Old Lake Shore Road near Angola. The invited campers come from backgrounds and with varying physical capabilities, but they melt into a joyful group under the caring influence of a staff headed by Jack Anthony, a health education teacher in Buffalo Public Schools.

Additional gifts may be mailed to The Buffalo News Camp Fund, Box 100, Buffalo, 14240. All will be acknowledged; a partial list appears on Page D3.

Barbara H. Anderson, a former counselor and a special education teacher for 20 years, wrote that she "personally can attest to the many miracles Cradle Beach Camp has accomplished."

"I have worked with children who long for the day when they could return to Cradle Beach," she added.

The gifts to the fund come from varying sources. One group of Buffalo News employees sends the deposits from soft drink cans collected during workdays. Several sets of grandparents have sent money in joyful thanks for their healthy grandchildren. Many people send gifts instead of mailing Christmas cards.

Ron May of Boston sent a check, calling the drive that began 45 years ago "a great thing" and praising the late David Peugeot, former Buffalo News promotion manager, for helping to start it.

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