Mother Christmas 'so grateful' as gifts pour in to annual appeal

The 'local for local' gift appeal has been helping children in need for decades

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 5:31 am

People from every corner of Northamptonshire have been rallying to Jeanette Walsh's call to help children and care leavers have a wonderful yuletide season.

Spurred on by former social worker Jeanette's call to help disadvantaged children across the county, hundreds of gifts have been handed over and more than £1,062 donated online.

For nearly 20 years this paper has supported children in the greatest need in the county by asking readers to generously donate toys and gifts.

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Volunteers at Wellingborough Museum with Robert Wharton

As well as collection points in every Nando's restaurant in the county, and at One Angel Square in Northampton, volunteers at Wellingborough Museum have been handed hundreds of presents to be gifted to local children this Christmas.

Robert Wharton from Wellingborough Museum said: "We've had more than 200 presents so far. People have been very generous. Lots of people who come in and donate gifts say that they were adopted or fostered and that they had a good experience. I suppose it's their chance to give something back.

"We have one couple who have been shopping all year round for this. People like coming in to donate because they know that it is going to the right people and that it will be local.

"We are just so impressed that people are prepared to support this - an established and secure way of supporting the children in the county."

Jeanette Walsh - Mother Christmas - with some of the shoe boxes full of gifts collected by staff at Nando's

The money you generously give and all the gifts donated will be used by Jeanette, on behalf of Northamptonshire's social services team, to buy presents and gifts for about 5,000 disadvantaged children across the whole of the county.

Jeanette, AKA Mother Christmas, said: "I always say it's local for local. Even if it's just one pound, it's one more pound than we would have had - I'm just so grateful. Everything donated will go to children and young people in this county to help them have a magical Christmas."

Jeanette, who grew up in care homes, has dedicated her whole life to improving disadvantaged children's lives.

Now a grandmother, Jeanette remembers her first Christmas in care as a six-year-old being given a present by a complete stranger and the happiness it brought.

She said: "The kids didn't ask to be in the position they find themselves but donations can make a real difference - let's put a smile on their faces."

The Northants Telegraph, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and the Daventry Express have once again teamed up with Northamptonshire-based Faraway Children's Charity to set up an online fundraising page where you can donate an amount of your choice.But as well as cash donations, thanks to the kind-hearted staff of Nando's restaurants across Northamptonshire, volunteers at Wellingborough Museum, and staff at One Angel Square - West Northants Council's offices - brand new unwrapped toys can also be donated in-person again.

The online fundraising page remains open until the end of December but Jeanette will be busy using the money to buy special gifts for children as soon as possible.

To donate please go to the Just Giving Link by clicking HERE or drop off your new unwrapped gifts to any Nando's restaurant in Northamptonshire or Wellingborough Museum or at One Angel Square during opening hours.

• Corby Nando's George St, Corby NN17 1QG

• Kettering Nando's Carina Rd, Kettering NN15 6YA

• Northampton Nando's 3 Wood Hill, Northampton NN1 2DA

• Rushden Lakes Shopping Centre Nando's, Rushden NN10 6FT

• Wellingborough The Wellingborough Museum Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XB

• 1, Angel Square, Angel St, Northampton NN1 1ED