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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Christmas wrapped up in a box

SIR – We are delighted to tell your readers that 3,626 lovely gift-filled shoeboxes were sent to children in Alexandria, Romania, in early December. What a fantastic result, showing how generous and kind-hearted West Cumbrians can be, even in uncertain times when people are having to be so careful with their money.

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Thank you: One grateful recipient with his shoebox

Heartfelt thanks are due to all the local schools, churches, businesses, community groups and other organisations who donated shoe boxes this year – your time and efforts will be well-rewarded by a child’s eager excitement and joy at opening the box you have made up especially for them... enough to make anyone smile!

There are so many people to thank. Thanks first of all to the shoppers and staff at Morrisons and Tesco, for their generosity and helpfulness on our collection days.

Thanks also to our drop off points: the staff at The Whitehaven News office, Howgill Family Centre, Egremont Market Hall, Shoezone, Yeoman’s, Cornerstone Christian Bookshop and Distington Surgery – this annual campaign would not be so successful without their support and cooperation.

We would like to thank Nigel Kay for providing us with great premises for our appeal and also Gary McKeating from Nuclear Management Partnerships for giving us a generous grant towards running the warehouse. Thanks, also, to Elaine Woodburn for her prompt response to our need for a warehouse this year. We would also like to thank the staff at Zoom, especially for their help in loading the lorry. We are really grateful for everyone’s practical support.

Thank you to our loyal band of knitters who work tirelessly all year round to provide us with hand puppets, bags, pencil cases, blankets and warm hats, scarves and mittens – thanks also to the people who collect fillers (Barbies, cars, jewellery, etc) – this makes such a difference to our volunteers at the warehouse who can add little “extras” to the boxes. Last, but by no means least, we would like to thank these volunteers (Santa’s Little Helpers!) who help to check, seal and pack the shoeboxes into cartons ready for dispatch.

Thank you so much for making this Christmas special for a child in Romania. Regular readers of The Whitehaven News will have read a recent article about Bupe Tyson from Millom School who received a shoebox as a boy – this is what he said: “Although it seems small from our end, we don’t get to see the impact it has over there. All you want to do remind the children that they are important and that they matter”. Happy Christmas to all your readers and best wishes for the New Year.

Dot & Les BLAYLOCK

Richard & Margaret RICKERBY

Cathy & Alan WELLS

Local links for Operation Christmas Child

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