Fakenham Academy students’ gift of love

Students from Fakenham Academy have been collecting items to fill shoe boxes for the Christian chari

Students from Fakenham Academy have been collecting items to fill shoe boxes for the Christian charity Blythswood Care. Pictured is Harriett Baldock (11). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Almost 100 people in some of Europe's poorest countries will have a present from north Norfolk this Christmas.

Students from Fakenham Academy have been collecting items to fill shoe boxes for the Christian chari

Students from Fakenham Academy have been collecting items to fill shoe boxes for the Christian charity Blythswood Care. Pictured are (from left) Karen Lawrence, David and Jennifer Tarling with students Alex Allison (14) and Toby Pollicott-Reid (11). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Students have filled 98 shoe boxes with presents for children and adults in Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Moldova.

Christmas shoeboxes. Picture: Ian Burt

Christmas shoeboxes. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

They will be distributed by the charity Blythswood Care, which has been collecting gifts for those in need abroad for 50 years.

Handing over their boxes to charity workers, the students heard how even the simplest of gifts like a scarf or bar of soap can be a luxury to someone who has nothing.

Supporter David Tarling, from North Walsham, worked in Blythswood's charity shop in Cromer before it closed earlier this year.

He told students: 'Congratulations for your fantastic support and these shoe boxes full of gifts.

'It is such a worthwhile job to do and what about the children, adults and families who will be receiving them.

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'What joy comes to many of these poor families when a stranger from another country who does not know the recipient takes the trouble to prepare and give a gift like this - so wonderful and probably the only present they will receive.'

Boxes contain toiletries like deodorant, along with shampoo and face cloths; underwear, make-up, sewing equipment, stationary, toys and sweets.

Head of art Sallyanne Boyle, who organised the appeal, said she originally hoped to fill one box per class at the academy.

'We only set out to fill about 50 and we've got 98,' she said. 'The students have worked extremely hard.'

For more information about the appeal, click here.

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