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On hold .. Oamaru Hospital Maternity Centre co-ordinator Jackie Ware with raffle prizes that cannot be given away, after the disappearance of the raffle book. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Raffle prizes have nowhere to go as a result of a mystery that has unfolded at the Oamaru Hospital Maternity Centre.

Staff at the centre ran a small raffle over the winter period to raise funds for the purchase of educational resources to give to women, as well as equipment for the centre.

However, the week the raffle was due to be drawn, the raffle book disappeared.

It was hoped that it would turn up so the raffle could be drawn, but so far, its whereabouts remain a mystery.

Oamaru Hospital Maternity Centre co-ordinator Jackie Ware said staff had gone to great lengths to find the book, and believed it may have inadvertently been taken from the building.

“Over the last two months, we have turned the maternity centre upside down, looking for the raffle book to be able to draw the raffle and it is nowhere to be seen.

“We think perhaps one of our lovely little people coming to a visit with their mum may have picked it up from our hallway and taken it to a new home.

“It was there one morning and then the nurse on the afternoon shift noticed it was missing because someone wanted to buy a ticket .. we haven’t seen it since.”

That has resulted in a situation where people have paid for tickets for a raffle that can’t be drawn and tickets cannot be refunded because there is no record of who bought them.

Prizes on offer included two gift baskets, a slow cooker and an air fryer.

Mrs Ware said about two-thirds of the 200 tickets in the book had been sold for $2 each.

If the book is found and returned before the end of October, the raffle will be drawn.

If not, the money collected will be given to charity and the prizes given away as part of a new raffle.

“We thought putting the word out publicly about what has happened would be the best way to go, and donating the proceeds we received to a local charity would be a good way to use that money, as we don’t feel right about keeping the money for ourselves when we haven’t been able to give away the prizes.”

No decision had been made on which charity would benefit.

“If it was me, I’d like to know someone is benefiting from the money that people have donated.”