Harborough and Lutterworth people fill shoeboxes for Christmas

Lutterworth College student Shannen Smith with some of the gift-filled shoeboxes donated by fellow pupils.
Lutterworth College student Shannen Smith with some of the gift-filled shoeboxes donated by fellow pupils.

Hundreds of poor or severely ill children will receive gifts at Christmas this year at home and abroad thanks to overwhelming support from district residents.

Nearly 200 gift-filled shoeboxes were handed over to Specsavers at St Mary’s Place in Market Harborough.

Staff from Specsavers in Market Harborough with present-filled shoeboxes donated by residents for the Operation Christmas Child appeal.

Staff from Specsavers in Market Harborough with present-filled shoeboxes donated by residents for the Operation Christmas Child appeal.

The opticians received 187 shoeboxes in aid of the Operation Christmas Child appeal, an annual campaign run by the Samaritan’s Purse charity to deliver Christmas gifts to underprivileged children across the world.

Barry Henning, the store director at Harborough’s Specsavers, said: “We do this collection every year.

“We feel very lucky to have such generous customers who continue to support us and donate more gifts year on year.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who has helped us and hope these gifts will go some way to helping children who don’t have much to celebrate over the festive season.”

Charlotte Blissett (centre) with her family, and Year 7 pupils Luke Wright and Joseph Smith (back row, from left) receiving gifts at Kibworth High School on behalf of Rainbows Children's Hospice.

Charlotte Blissett (centre) with her family, and Year 7 pupils Luke Wright and Joseph Smith (back row, from left) receiving gifts at Kibworth High School on behalf of Rainbows Children's Hospice.

Lutterworth College students have also been busy filling and packing a total of 91 shoeboxes with gifts and toys for underprivileged children around the world as part of Operation Christmas Child appeal.

Students have spent the last few months collecting gifts and toys and filling and wrapping the boxes which are being sent to eastern Europe and the Philippines.

The project was co-ordinated by pupils Shannen Smith, Sophie Hayward, Ben Sharpe, James Duncan, Olive Worgan and Josh Cope.

The college’s executive principal Andrew Cooper said: “I am very proud that our students have been able to support Operation Christmas Child through the shoebox appeal again this year.

“It is wonderful that children around the world, living in poverty and distressing conditions, will receive their special shoebox filled with toys and we are privileged to have helped make this happen.”

Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse has been running the appeal since 1990.

Meanwhile, children from Kibworth High School have been supporting the county’s Rainbows Children’s Hospice by collecting treats for children connected to the hospice.

The school has been supporting the hospice at Christmas time for several years, and the treats help youngsters who either receive treatment themselves at the hospice or family members.

Last month pupils in Year 7 were introduced to Robert Haylock, an ambassador for the Loughborough-based hospice.

He informed the pupils of the excellent work that Rainbows does to support terminally ill children and their families.

He also showed a moving YouTube video of Charlotte Blissett, the sister of Lattisha and Georgia who both attend the Kibworth school.

Maggie McCann, the Year 7 progress manager at the school, said: “The pupils were invited to donate presents and seasonal fare for distribution to the young people at their annual parties.

“A list of suggested gifts was circulated – these ranged from selection boxes to shower gel, Christmas Crackers and mince pies.”

Last Wednesday Mr Haylock returned and each of the school’s eight forms in Year 7 presented a decorated box filled with festive treats.

Mrs McCann added: “The students were delighted to be introduced to Charlotte, who, along with Mr Haylock and two Year 7 boys Luke Wright and Joseph Smith, who both have brothers attending the hospice, received the gifts on behalf of Rainbows.

“Rainbows has asked that we thank parents and students for their generous gifts, which will be very much appreciated by the children and young people receiving support from Rainbows.”