Calderdale folk with hearts of gold spread joy and love at Christmas

Sophie-Anna Middleton, left, and Sarah Thompson at the Yorkshire Children's Trust Christmas present give-away.
Sophie-Anna Middleton, left, and Sarah Thompson at the Yorkshire Children's Trust Christmas present give-away.
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Christmas is the time for goodwill and giving and Calderdale folk with hearts of gold have risen to the challenge to bring a smile to the faces of those in need.

The Courier has been inundated with calls from people who are doing amazing things for charity over the festive season.

Sowood WI's President Jackie Swire with arms full of donated gifts

Sowood WI's President Jackie Swire with arms full of donated gifts

The Yorkshire Children’s Trust, based at Holmfield Mills, received a staggering 2,000 gifts which were donated to less fortunate children on Wednesday.

Manager Simon Widdop said: “We want to make sure we help as many local families as possible.

“We understand that many families with sick or disabled children or those on benefits may not be able to afford Christmas so we want to help to make sure no children wake up this Christmas without a present.”

And the ladies of Sowood Women’s Institute, who meet at Sowood Community Centre, organised an appeal for children who will be spending Christmas in Calderdale Women’s Refuge.

Paul Bottomley with Halifax rugby league star Adam Fogerty

Paul Bottomley with Halifax rugby league star Adam Fogerty

Secretary Philippa Atkin said: “One of our most rewarding achievements last year was to organise a last minute appeal to provide gifts and treats for the children spending Christmas in Calderdale Women’s Refuge. The community’s response was astounding and their generosity meant that those children had some of the normality that we all take for granted with lovely new presents to open on Christmas morning.

“The appeal was so successful that every child entering the refuge in the last year was able to receive a brand new toy to call their own.

“The refuge staff have told us that this made an enormous impact, so we decided to organise the appeal again this year.”

The branch opened the doors of the community centre on Tuesday for people to drop off donations and it was soon bursting with gifts from people wanting to make a difference.

Philippa described the outpouring of generosity as “outstanding”.

She said: “We had an amazing and inspiring day. The generosity was simply overwhelming and we delivered sack fulls of gifts to the refuge where they were received with huge gratitude.”

Super fundraisers Paul and Jane Bottomley, from Sowerby Bridge, raised a fantastic £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by selling raffle tickets for a hamper. The dedicated pair also donated selection boxes for the children’s ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital, as well as mince pies and Christmas crackers for all those undergoing chemotherapy over the festive period.

People from across the borough have also been donating gifts and their time to bring a smile to the faces of children who will be spending Christmas in hospital.

FC Halifax Town players visited the children’s ward and 12-year-old Alexandra Ainley collected and made presents to donate.

Staff at Morrisons in Elland also did their part to bring some joy this festive season by donating teddy bears and toys to children in the hospital, while Queensbury Tesco said there had been an “unprecedented” response to its appeal.

Calderdale police officer Ian Shaw Peters also visited the children and staff at Calderdale Royal Infirmary’s Children’s ward as they attended their annual Christmas party to donate lots of presents in time for the festive season.

He said: “It can be hard for both children and their families who are staying in hospital for Christmas, which is why we wanted to be able to help give them a little extra present this year. It is important to us that we provide support to those in our communities who are not able to be at home this Christmas.”

Some extra presents were also donated by the Stainland and District partnership.

Santa’s little helpers at Mecca Halifax also donated a number of gifts.

Ian Shaw Peters, a Calderdale police officer visited the hospital to donate presents

Ian Shaw Peters, a Calderdale police officer visited the hospital to donate presents

Jenni Millington, charity champion at the Halifax bingo hall said: “Christmas is all about sharing which is why we felt it was important to do our bit and help out a great local charity like the Calderdale Royal Hospital children’s ward, which does so much to help the community.

“Our team members and customers have been extremely generous and thanks to them we’ve been able to help those less fortunate experience that warming festive Christmas feeling.”