Mother Christmas thanks YOU for 'fantastic' Northamptonshire gift appeal

The gift appeal provided presents for children, young people and families in need

It was an 'absolutely fantastic' Christmas for thousands of children across Northamptonshire thanks to the generosity of county residents who selflessly donated gifts and funds.

Gift appeal organiser Jeanette Walsh, aka Mother Christmas, has been receiving thank you messages from the teams that distributed the thousands of items to the most disadvantaged.

From children who had lost parents to those in children's homes and teenagers who have left care Jeanette, working with social services and The Faraway Charity, provided gifts that were gratefully received.

Jeanette Walsh aka Mother Christmas has received dozens of thank you messages

Jeanette said: "Following your overwhelming generosity, the 2021 Christmas Appeal has been absolutely fantastic.

"With the help from the Northants Telegraph, the Chronicle & Echo, the Daventry Express and the Faraway Charity, we have yet again been blessed with many fabulous donations.

"As well as gifts, soft toys, toiletries, vouchers, food hampers and many toys, we have had monetary donations to help our disadvantaged families and our teenagers enjoy Christmas.

"A very big and sincere thank you to all my little Christmas helpers based in and around Northamptonshire, who have very generously offered their time, practical assistance and/or financial support in contributing to the Christmas appeal and on behalf of the children, families and young people living in our county - thank you’."

Colleagues from Nando's collected gifts for the appeal in their Northamptonshire restaurants

Gifts were distributed across the county to staff working within children and young peoples services, covering the areas of Corby, Daventry, Kettering, Northampton and Wellingborough and Rushden, who passed them to the families in need.

Jeanette has shared the thank you letters and stories of the people helped by the appeal that she has been sent to pass on to readers.

• A young boy of ten, who had just lost his mother, and now living with his step-father were both struggling with the build up to Christmas - the first without his mum. He used to make models out of blu-tac for his mum and was very proud of them.

The social worker said: "When I arrived and explained to step-dad about the gifts we receive for children and handed him a present, he was extremely emotional and told me how much his son loves to build - it was a construction car kit. He expressed how kind people are to donate the presents and how grateful he was to receive it. When I visited after Christmas I was met with the boy showing me very proudly how he had built the car and added to his collection of displays in his room."

Jeanette also filled hundreds of shoe boxes with gifts for care leavers

• Dear Jeanette, please say a huge thank you to the family who was kind enough to donate the personal gifts for each of our five children, when they opened them on Christmas morning their faces lit up, they have never received such beautiful gifts, and they each received exactly what they asked Santa for. So please Jeanette thank the family for us on behalf of our children. Xx

• From a 20-year-old young man said: "Thank you so much, I really appreciate it, the gift box had lots of things in it that I like but couldn't buy like creams and a new mug with hot chocolate sachets. "

• A 19-year-old young woman said of her gift box said: “Oh my god, this is great, it’s even got my favourite shower gel.”

• One Northampton mum said: "I have recently been moved to Northampton as a place of safety. I don’t know anyone and was feeling tired, scared and lonely. When I put out a request for someone to help me out with some small gifts for my children for Christmas I didn’t expect an angel to appear on my doorstep. I was overwhelmed with all the amazing gifts we received.

"The tears of joy and happiness that so many people care enough to share their Christmas with someone like me. I will be forever grateful and thankful for all your help and support. This act of kindness has helped me through the most difficult times I have ever experienced in my life. Thank you. Thank you, Mother Christmas."

• Another mum said: "Thank you Mother Christmas for helping me make a magical Christmas for my children. Times have been really difficult after the children's dad left us. There is hardly enough money for food so getting gifts for the children was a real struggle. Having someone who cares enough to offer help and support in such a kind way made me feel it was ok to accept the gifts.

"I never ask for anything. Our Christmas was going to be a small one with a couple of toys for the little ones.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making our Christmas special... I’m feeling very emotional and loved right now."

• One dad thanked Jeanette on his two-year-old daughter's behalf. He said: "As I’m out of work at the moment taking care of my mother and daughter (my partner left me for someone else) I have had to learn a lot of new skills.

"I am so grateful for all the help and support you have given me and my mum. The toys we received are wonderful, I could never afford such luxuries. Mrs Santa you are doing a great job, thank you so much to everyone who has donated gifts to help my family enjoy Christmas. Bless you and all."

Jeanette added: "I have been able to supply gifts to the county's safeguarding teams, leaving care teams, special guardianship team, children in care council team, the contact centre, looked-after children’s teams, five children’s homes and early help teams and because of the fantastic response I have been able to supply to all the teams right across the county.

"Thanks to your valuable support, many of the children and families living in our county have enjoyed a better Christmas."

Jeanette is now starting to collect the 5,000 Easter eggs needed to supply disadvantaged children across the county.

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