Mother Christmas ready to deliver joy to Northamptonshire children - and here's how you can donate to our annual Christmas gift appeal
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She’s dry-cleaned her red suit, dusted down her sleigh and fed the reindeer and now Northamptonshire’s own Jeanette Walsh aka Mother Christmas is ready to launch our annual gift appeal.
For more than 20 years this newspaper has supported children in the greatest need in Northamptonshire by asking readers to donate toys and gifts.
And once again we’re asking you, our generous readers to help our annual Christmas gift appeal collecting new, unwrapped gifts for the county’s disadvantaged children.
As the cost of living crisis deepens, more children than ever before will be needing seasonal cheer.
Editorial director David Summers said: "Today the Northamptonshire Newspapers – Northants Telegraph, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and Daventry Express – launches its Christmas appeal.
"Last year you supported us with your generous donations that helped disadvantaged children have a better Christmas. So once again we've teamed up with Mother Christmas Jeanette Walsh.
"There are still hundreds of disadvantaged children who deserve to wake on Christmas morning with a smile on their face - and you, our readers, can still help to make that happen."
We’ve once again teamed up with Mother Christmas – retired social worker Jeanette Walsh – on behalf of Northamptonshire's social services teams.
With help from generous readers, thousands of gifts were donated at drop-off points across the county in 2022 and distributed by Jeanette to help disadvantaged children have a better Christmas.
In the past year Jeanette has been recognised for her volunteer work and was a finalist in BBC Radio Northampton's Make A Difference Awards – recognising those in the county who go ‘above and beyond’ to help others.
Gifts are needed for children of all ages but especially teenagers – with pyjamas, toiletries and vouchers a favourite.
She said: "I grew up in a children’s home and I know the joy of having a brand new present to open on Christmas Day. The appeal is all about those children who are living through some of the hardest times in recent years. The children deserve it - having something they wouldn't have unless it was donated.
"With winter coming, parents are going to be spending money on heating. The cost of living is hitting families with the price of food and rents soaring. It is going to affect those on the lowest incomes the most. I know what it is like to grow up with absolutely nothing and the joy that just one, new present can bring.
"This year I really, really need your help. Times are hard. These gifts donated in the county will be given to children and young people living in Northamptonshire. A new gift makes such a difference. The kids didn't ask to be in the position they find themselves but donations can make a real difference.”
Once again, Jeanette will be helped by the kind-hearted staff of Nando's stores across Northamptonshire, volunteers at Wellingborough Museum, Northants Council will be accepting gifts in four towns in north Northamptonshire, and West Northants Council’s team at One Angel Square where brand new unwrapped toys can be donated in person.
Joining the campaign this year as a drop-off point is Kettering’s Wicksteed Park. Other businesses are also invited to collect gifts at their workplaces.
Gifts will be collected by Mother Christmas Jeanette and distributed to the social work teams looking after children across the county.
Jeanette added: "Let's give the children something to smile about and make it a really happy Christmas by sharing and showing we care for our youngest and most vulnerable county residents.”
Where to donate during regular opening hours:
Wicksteed Park Kettering, reception Barton Road, NN15 6NJ
West Northants Council offices 1, Angel Square, Angel St, Northampton NN1 1ED
Nando's George Street, Corby NN17 1QG
Nando's Carina Road, Kettering NN15 6YA
Nando's Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre NN10 6FT
Nando's Wood Hill, Northampton town centre NN1 2DA
Wellingborough Museum, Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XB
Northants Council will be accepting gifts in four towns in north Northamptonshire –- Corby, One Stop Shop on first floor at the Corby Cube George St, NN17 1QG- Kettering, reception of the council offices in Bowling Green Road, NN15 7QX- Thrapston, council offices in Cedar Drive reception NN14 4LZ- Wellingborough, Tithe Barn Office, Tithe Barn Road, NN8 1BP
Contact Mother Christmas by emailing her at [email protected].