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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Gifts boxed up for deprived children

By Jonathan HumphriesDEDICATED volunteers are preparing a mountain of gift-filled shoeboxes for their journey to Romania.

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THANK YOU: Rosemary Webster of the Teams4U charity with the large stacks of presents which will be sent to impoverished children in Romania HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50041020B003

The Christmas shoebox appeal, run by charity Teams4U, will benefit children living in extreme poverty – many who may never have received a Christmas present before.

This week stacks of donated shoeboxes have been arriving at a warehouse in James Freel Court, Barrow.

Rosemary Webster, Teams4U area co-ordinator for Cumbria, has been involved in the shoebox appeal for around 14 years.

She said: “As usual the Barrow public have been really generous, especially some of the children at the schools, and everyone at the churches.

“Some people have been knitting for us, and have donated hats, gloves and hand puppets. It may seem strange but for a child who has nothing, something as simple as a hand puppet becomes a little friend.”

Volunteer Monica Pugh, from Walney, said: “In another life it might have been my own child. The thought of the children’s faces when they open the gifts is a big motivation.

Mrs Webster, from Crosthwaite, said: “We can never lift the children out of poverty, but what we can do is bring a smile to their faces. The gifts bring joy to their lives.”

Mrs Webster’s husband Keith said: “It’s a really simple idea, and I think the chance to fill a finite space with exciting gifts really motivates people.”

Jim Rhodes, from Friars Lane, Barrow, has been involved in the appeal for five years.

He said: “It’s enjoyable work and it’s good for the children. I can’t believe how generous people have been. The variety of stuff that has been going in the shoeboxes is amazing.”

A team from south Cumbria is also planning to head to Romania in January, the time when orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas in the country, to help with the distribution of the shoeboxes.

Mr Webster said: “We know it’s going to be an emotional trip.”

The shoeboxes will be leaving Barrow from November 23.

Mrs Webster added: “We want to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have helped with the appeal, and the members of the public who have donated. We couldn’t help the children without them.”

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