Group of friends spread Christmas cheer with gift giveaway scheme
PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 19 December 2019
Christmas has been made all the more merry for thousands of people across Norfolk thanks to a new gift-giving scheme launched by four friends.
Nathan Lomax, from Norwich, thought up the idea of collecting gifts and cash to buy more of them for people in need in September, after going through a "turbulent" period.
Calling themselves the Giveaway Gang, the group smashed their targets over two weeks of collecting in December, bringing in more than 3,000 gifts and raising over £5,000.
Mr Lomax said: "A close family member of mine, after finally getting into remission with cancer, had another huge health scare. We lost out on a big project at work, cash was tight and I was mentally in a terrible place.
"But one night I had a moment of sudden realisation - there are so many people worse off than me.
"I needed to put my life into perspective and do something for other people rather than focusing on myself."
The gifts are being distributed by charities including the Norfolk Hospice, the Big C, the Benjamin Foundation, the Norwich Foodbank and food banks in Cromer, Sheringham and Holt.
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Matt McKee, from Holt, who is also in the 'gang' along with Sophie Jewry, Sinead Merron and student ambassador Max Merron, said they were thrilled with the scheme's success
Mr McKee said: "What started off as a small idea has grown massively. We've been absolutely overwhelmed by how people have got on board with it.
"We've already decided we're going to run it again next year and we want to come up with something even better."
The scheme has even attracted the support of actor and author Ross Kemp and actress Liza Goddard, who have posted videos online encouraging people to donate.
Mr Lomax added: "We're not religious or political.
"We want nothing from this other than to help anyone who is feeling a bit down, under pressure or sad.
"If we can help put smiles on peoples faces at a time that is not necessarily merry for them then the Giveaway Gang has achieved its goal."