CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Thank you for helping to spread Christmas hamper joy!

Your donations helped us make sure the elderly and isolated did not feel forgotten

02 January, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Santa visits Rose Willett at the Ash Court Nursing Home in Kentish Town

IT was a special delivery to remember.

When the New Journal’s Santa knocked on the door of a pensioner who last year lost her husband of 56 years just before Christmas, tears rolled down her face. We handed her a hamper and she told us how she could not believe what she described as “the kindness of strangers”.

It had made her Christmas to know that others were thinking of her at a time of year where loved ones are so badly missed. But it was just one moment of magic on our hamper rounds, but an example of why the generosity of readers can mean so much.

Highgate Newtown Community Centre’s Kim Reilly with Carol Norris, from hamper donors Murphy’s

After raising several thousands of pounds from donations and fund-raising events, we sent Father Christmas – looking uncannily like our helper Ceri Thomas – to deliver hampers to people who have gone through hardship and those spending their elderly years alone.

The idea has always been simple: we did not want anybody to feel alone at a time when the whole world seems to be partying. There were more tears during the rounds, but smiles too, as people told of how Camden is still, despite the hard times many live under, a community which cares about its neighbours.

Clare White gets a call from Santa

We made visits to several elderly people who are starting to feel isolated, having lost partners or relatives, or with nobody else to visit. We dropped in on nursing homes, luncheon clubs and community clubs, from Somers Town to Kilburn. One elderly woman told one of our delivery team: “Some­times you just think nobody listens to you because your old. And then you worry nobody cares. To get a box like this makes me feel fantastic.”

It would not have been possible if you had not put your hand in your pocket. Understandably, a lot of our recipients did not want to feature in photos in the newspaper. If you are living a life on the breadline, the last place you may want to appear is telling the world about it to the New Journal, but everybody who received a hamper asked us to pass on their thanks.

Carol Norris of Murphy’s with Grace Livingstone at the Holly Lodge luncheon club

We would like to thank everybody who contributed – they will get a special mention in next week’s newspaper. Among them were construction firm Murphy’s who added hundreds of pounds of bonus treats to our deliveries and then came to help hand out the boxes to the Holly Lodge older people’s luncheon club. We also stopped at St Martin’s Church in Gospel Oak, where vicar Reverend Christopher Bryce helped distribute them to some of his parishioners who have found the going tough at the moment.

See this week’s New Journal for more 

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