Deprived children to receive shoebox gifts

SHOEBOX APPEAL: The Retired Members Club in Sudbury is donating presents to underprivilged children abroad.
SHOEBOX APPEAL: The Retired Members Club in Sudbury is donating presents to underprivilged children abroad.
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Shoeboxes packed with presents from a Sudbury group will give underprivileged children a Christmas to remember.

Skipping ropes, cuddly toys, woolly hats and toothbrushes have all been donated by a retired members club which meets once a month at St Gregory’s Church hall in Prince Street.

A total of 33 boxes have been created by the group and will contribute to the town’s Operation Christmas Child (OCC) project, which will see presents sent to children living in poverty in Belarus in three weeks’ time.

Ron Bowman, social secretary, said members had felt compelled to help after a visit from Nina Harding, co-ordinator for the Sudbury branch of OCC.

“Nina came along about four months ago and explained what a difference the shoeboxes make,” said Mr Bowman, from Long Melford.

“Just seeing the children’s faces light up made us want to get involved.”

Members were presented with a certificate thanking them for their donations on Tuesday and Sudbury mayor Jack Owen, who formed the group – made up mainly of former CAV and Delphi workers – in 2001, said he was overjoyed by the reaction to the cause.

“It has been tremendous and it is lovely to be able to help underprivileged children,” he said.

“Lots of the items are what people have just lying around at home, but everything gets used and it will make the children’s Christmas.”

Branch co-ordinator Miss Harding, who has been in the role for 17 years, said she was hopeful around 10,000 shoeboxes would be sent overseas.

“The response has been amazing and the members provided us with everything we needed,” she said.

Last year, the charity was forced to make a desperate plea for a warehouse but has already secured premises in Brundon Lane this time around.