'They just wanted a hug' - Nurse delivers Christmas hampers

Melanie Sturman delivering Christmas hampers in Thetford.

Melanie Sturman delivering Christmas hampers in Thetford. - Credit: Melanie Sturman

A nurse who has gone beyond the call of duty throughout the pandemic has once again been putting smiles on people’s faces, after 150 "pick me up" Christmas hampers were delivered across a town.

With the help of businesses, members of the public and local councillors, Melanie Sturman helped deliver Christmas hampers to vulnerable and lonely people in Thetford.

Melanie Sturman helped to deliver around 150 Christmas hampers to residents in Thetford.

Melanie Sturman helped to deliver around 150 Christmas hampers to residents in Thetford. - Credit: Melanie Sturman

As support groups were forced to stop amid lockdown, Ms Sturman said she felt inspired to help those who had been left on their own this winter, including members of the Thetford District and Dementia Group and the Methodist Church luncheon club. 

But after being inundated with donations for the hampers, the 50-year-old asked the community to send in nominations of people who also deserved a bit of Christmas cheer. 

Ms Sturman said: “I ended up with so much stuff donated, which was awesome, and it enabled me to offer out the hampers in the wider community. So, I went on the Thetford Forum and asked for nominations.


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“There were nominations for people who would normally go to their neighbours at Christmas but can't this year, people who were recovering from Covid, people who had been in hospital, people who are bereaved and generally those who are on their own. 

“All I wanted to do was give people a pick me up and put a smile on people's faces, but what I have found is how caring the people of Thetford are, they all came together to help make this project a success.” 

Breckland Councillor for the Thetford Boudica ward, Stuart Terry, helped to deliver Christmas hampers with Melanie Sturman.

Breckland Councillor for the Thetford Boudica ward, Stuart Terry, delivering Christmas hampers with Melanie Sturman. - Credit: Melanie Sturman

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Included in every hamper were Christmas cards designed by the 1st Honington RAF cub pack, Christmas cake, mince pies, vegetables, biscuits, Christmas pudding, chocolates, crackers and one family even donated 100 bottles of Asti sparkling wine.

Ms Sturman added: "It was brilliant because you turn up and it’s a complete surprise and they were genuinely really pleased to see us and said it was nice that somebody cared. 

"We visited one lady who was too frightened to go out. When I turned up, she broke down and burst into tears.  

"And a nurse had been nominated by her local postie. It was amazing.

"But at the same time it was really hard, you could see a lot of the people we visited just wanted a hug, but we couldn't."

Melanie Sturman helped to deliver around 150 Christmas hampers to residents in Thetford.

Melanie Sturman helped to deliver around 150 Christmas hampers to residents in Thetford. - Credit: Melanie Sturman

Ms Sturman has now reached a fundraising figure of £11,000 after supporting various charities and support groups since the start of the pandemic back in March.

“It has made me think differently about Christmas," she added.

"This has been one of the best build ups because it means a lot more. I genuinely love helping people."

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