'It will be a Christmas like no other': Northampton's readers donate piles and piles of presents to make toy appeal a record breaker

We asked Northampton to help make Christmas a bit more special for the county's vulnerable children. And you didn't disappoint.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:00 am
A treasure trove of more than 2,500 presents were generously donated by you, the Chronicle and Echo readers.

Hundreds of children, teenagers and struggling families in Northampton will get a change to open a present this Christmas because of you.

Because a month ago, the Chronicle and Echo asked its readers to spare a few gifts vulnerable families could have something under the tree on December 25.

Last year, you came through and donated over 1,700 gifts. But this year, you really out did yourself.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

'Mother Christmas' Jeanette Walsh said: "I've never seen anything like this in 17 years."

All told, at least 2,500 gifts have been generously given by our readers this year, and has set a new benchmark for Northamptonshire's annual toy appeals.

Over the past months, piles and piles of presents were brought to the Good Loaf branches in All Saints Church and Overstone Road. And now, they are ready to be shared out so families living on the breadline can see a bit of cheer this Christmas.

The annual toy appeal is spearheaded by former social worker Jeanette Walsh - better known as 'Mother Christmas' - who has run the annual appeals across the county for 17 years after she herself received a donated gift while growing up in care.

But Jeanette says this year's response is like nothing she's ever seen.

It's a record breaker - piles and piles and piles of presents were handed in to help Northamptonshire's struggling families.

She said: "What can I say? I'm absolutely overwhelmed at the magnitude of how generous Northampton's people have been.

"There are at least 5,500 young people and children in across the county that are disadvantaged. And these presents will give them a Christmas like never before.

"The quality of the gifts is astounding. I've never seen anything like this in 17 years. It's the best response ever."

In the run up to Christmas. Northamptonshire County Council social workers will select suitable gifts for the hundreds of families they are in contact with and deliver them before Christmas Day.

These presents will not go out to help Northamptonshire's families in time for Christmas - and it's all thanks to you.

Jeanette said: "I want to thank the amazing job by the Good Loaf to look after all these presents during the donation drive; the team from property services; and my Christmas Angel Jessie Doherty for helping me as always.

"And, of course, the hundreds of people in Northampton who donated so generously this year."

Gifts that are not used at Christmas will become birthday presents for young people throughout the year.