Norwich City stars surprise children with gifts at primary school
PUBLISHED: 15:42 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 17 December 2019
Children at a school in one of the region's most deprived areas were surprised by Norwich City players bearing gifts ahead of Christmas Day,
With many of the parents at Mile Cross Primary Academy living with low incomes, many youngsters could very well have faced a giftless Christmas - with some families facing the prospect of choosing between food on the table or gifts under the tree.
However, fundraising efforts from SOUL Church, the YMCA and Norwich City Football Club have meant that all 465 of the pupils at the school will have at least one gift to open on December 25.
The three organisations have clubbed together to spend thousands of pounds on board games to gift to the pupils - with two Canaries doing the honours of handing them out.
Stuart Allen, the school's headteacher, said: "When I heard about the idea I was overwhelmed and immediately knew what I would I would like to suggest as gifts.
"Board games were a great idea because they give families a reason to spend quality time together, rather than spending Christmas in front of the television or staring at screens."
Norwich City players Max Aarons and Dennis Srbeny were given the task of dishing out the gifts, surprising youngsters at the school on Tuesday afternoon.
Jon Norman, pastor of SOUL Church in Norwich and Norwich City Football Club, which collected the board games for over 1,000 primary school children through its Wonder Tree, said: "Many of the children might have gone without anything this Christmas so we are saying a big thank you to people that contributed and made a donation."
The Wonder tree was set up in the church's base on Mason Road, Carrow Road and the football club's Colney Training Centre.
Members of the public could take a tag from the tree and buy a gift between £5 and £15 and return it to the tree to be donated to children and vulnerable young people.
Mr Norman added that the festive season was a time for SOUL Church and other churches to support communities and the Wonder tree was a vehicle for people who wanted to help others.