A family who raised £12,000 in their son’s memory in just three months has launched what they hope could be West Norfolk’s biggest Christmas present appeal.
Kim and Andrew Hunter are aiming to collect at least 500 presents for poorly and terminally-ill children as a tribute to their two-year-old son Rocco, who died in July after suffering a childhood seizure while asleep.
The appeal comes as Rocco’s Legacy, a campaign launched days after the boy’s death to raise awareness of febrile convulsions, succeeded in getting 800,000 information leaflets distributed in nationwide Bounty packs for parents from January.
Now the couple, from Castle Acre, are hoping their festive present appeal will enjoy similar success.
They said preparing for their first Christmas without Rocco has been “extremely hard”, but focusing on helping other youngsters is helping them to cope.
Mr and Mrs Hunter are collecting the presents in Rocco’s memory for children at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and terminally-ill youngsters at The Evelina Childrens Hospital, also in London.
A fantastic 200 gifts have already been donated, but at least 500 are needed to ensure no-one is left out.
“We’d hate any children to miss out, so we really hope everyone gets behind the appeal and helps us reach our 500 target,” said Mrs Hunter.
“If there’s any presents left over, they will be donated to the Rudham children’s ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.”
Hundreds of leaflets appealing for presents have been distributed to homes in Castle Acre and Great Massingham, and a present collection day is being held at Castle Acre Village Hall on Sunday,
December 13, from 10.30am to 4pm, for anyone wishing to donate.
Presents will also be sorted into age groups and gender on the day, ready for Santa to deliver them to London on Sunday, December 20.
Presents should be aimed at children aged between one and 16, although Mrs Hunter said they particularly need gifts for the 12 to 16-year-olds.
They also need donations of Christmas gifts bags and Santa sacks to deliver the presents in.
Anyone unable to attend the collection day can take presents to drop-off points at Hair Unique Hairdressers in The Plowright, Swaffham; Costcutters, Castle Acre; and EIAT UK on the Threxton Road Industrial Estate, Watton.
Details of where presents can be posted are also available through the ‘Rocco’s Legacy’ Facebook page.
The couple, who also have an 11-month-old son called Shay, say they have been overwhelmed by support for the Christmas appeal so far.
“We have had a great response from friends, family and members of the public already.
“People have been so generous,” said Mrs Hunter.
“The appeal will help make Christmas special for children in hospital at Christmas, such as those suffering with brain tumours and cancer, and, with the help of the public, we hope it can the biggest present appeal in the area.”
Mrs Hunter added: “Preparing for Christmas without Rocco is extremely hard, but doing this has given us something to focus on.