Christmas charity helps Eastern Europe

GENEROUS Comet country citizens have joined forces to create shoeboxes full of toys and gifts for children in Eastern Europe.

A campaign organised by Walsworth Road Baptist Church in Hitchin saw 1,084 boxes donated, as part of the Smile shoebox project.

Boxes were displayed outside the church on Remembrance Sunday, and then loaded onto lorries on Tuesday where they were taken to Kent to be dispatched.

The donations eclipsed the total raised in last years tally of 1000 boxes, the largest amount in the UK.

“It’s great that we have so many people getting involved in this very worthwhile project,” said Marie Tyler, who helped organise the church’s appeal.

“We started this in 2004, when we worked with one school to collect 90 boxes. Now, we have the help of 12 schools, other churches, and scouts and guide groups.”

Minister Andrew Henton-Pusey is also getting involved in the campaign, and is due to visit Kosovo next month, where he will help distribute gifts and other aid.

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Children from Gothic Mede Lower School, in Arlesey, also gave thoughtlessly to a similar cause by donating over 60 shoeboxes to the Samaritan’s Purse appeal.

The school has a history of supporting the drive but say this year’s effort beat all previous records.

Carolyn Roberts, the year two teacher who organised the appeal, said: “It was the most that we have had, we had 65 boxes this year.

“We took them straight to St Peter’s in Arlesey who took them to Biggleswade to be distributed.”

The High Street school has been supporting the appeal for about five years and Mrs Roberts says the response is getting “bigger and bigger”.

St Peter’s Church co-ordinated Arlesey’s collection of shoeboxes and this year they will be sent to Romania.