The Christmas appeal now in its ninth year is the brain child of Tim Sutton (volunteer Helmsman at Clacton RNLI), who from personal experience with his daughter Amy, knows how miserable it can be over the festive period for children away from home, despite the excellent care and compassion of staff. With a mantra of ‘one gift equals one smile’, and over 12,000 items delivered in nine years, that’s 12,000 smiles.
This year’s appeal has had so many generous donations from local businesses, residents as well as a large donation of gifts collected by local Essex Police officers, too numerous to mention all individually, and many just being left anonymously. Each and everyone can take heart that their generosity will be helping to make a child’s Christmas that little better.
The appeal culminated with a road trip for Mr Sutton and fellow volunteers from Clacton-on-Sea RNLI, which included RNLI mascot Stormy Stan, thanks to Dial a Ride, and the Snell family, who each year cover the fuel costs for the 300-mile round trip.
Taking in the three counties of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, the team will visited 15 establishments caring for children with the 2000 plus items donated. A care package of gifts is to be sent to Gt Ormond Street Hospital too.
Tim Sutton who is the driving force behind the appeal had this to say;
“ I can never thank people enough for the support that we are given each year with our appeals, it’s very heart warming. By the end of this week we will have delivered approximately 2,000 gifts to over 15 locations.”
Mr Sutton went on to say; “To think the first time we did the deliveries nine years ago we set out with one car, four crew and a boot full of items, now we have to use a mini a bus.
This year’s visit saw Tim’s daughter Amy returning to Addenbrooks for the second time since completing her treatment, accompanied by her brother Chris, and meeting some of the Doctors and nurses that took care of her.
Tim Sutton and everyone at Clacton RNLI would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who has donated to, and helped with this year’s appeal. It truly makes us proud of our community.’