Charity overwhelmed by response

New Beginnings Annual Charity Collection. Picture Sarah Peters.
New Beginnings Annual Charity Collection. Picture Sarah Peters.
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No fewer than 150 Clydesdale children woke up to new toys on Christmas morning thanks to the appeal run by the New Beginngings charity.

That is an increase of 25 per cent on last year. And 78 families sat down to Christmas dinner with the hampers of festive food assembled by the charity.

There were also 91 unexpected presents for parents and individuals referred to the charity.

New Beginnings Convener Mary McLellan is overwhelmed by the response, — but saddened that the need is there and growing.

“The Christmas project has been fantastic,” she said. “People took it to their hearts. I want to thank everyone.”

Volunteers had been amazed at the support from people throughout Clydesdale, as donations mounted up at their “depots” in Carluke and Lanark.

“Donations were coming in from far and wide, from Leadhills and Biggar as well as the local areas,” said Mary.

And the volunteers were surprised at the quality of the toys being handed in; they have always insisted that Santa delivers only new toys, but this year’s were wonderful.

Donations of food poured in for the family festive hampers, and people were generous with cash donations.

There are far too many to name, but Mary singles out one example: “One young lad did a sponsored bike ride, and with what he raised he went shopping for gifts for teenagers.It was just fantastic.”

“We were receiving gifts from lots of organisations, High Street banks and churches, and individuals were coming in with donations of toys and in the bag there would be money - maybe £5, or in some cases £50.”

The Bridge Cafe in Lanark let the group use the old Post Office sorting office, with a production line of volunteers making up the hampers and sacks of toys, then more volunteers delivered the parcels.

“I can’t bear the thought of a child waking up on Christmas morning and it being just another day for them,” added Mary.