Downham villagers give festive cheer in a shoebox

Shoebox Collection at St Mary's Church Denver, some of the boxes ready for sending off.'LtoR, Janet Lewis, Yvonne Adkinson, John Meakin, Hilda Bungay, Carol Hewitt, Michael Poole, Vera Harnwell, Rev Judith Grundy. ANL-151111-155638009

Shoebox Collection at St Mary's Church Denver, some of the boxes ready for sending off.'LtoR, Janet Lewis, Yvonne Adkinson, John Meakin, Hilda Bungay, Carol Hewitt, Michael Poole, Vera Harnwell, Rev Judith Grundy. ANL-151111-155638009

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Villagers near Downham are gearing up to send dozens of boxes of Christmas joy to youngsters abroad and are hoping you can help too.

Worshippers at the St Mary’s Church in Denver, and the group’s other churches in Bexwell and Ryston, are currently preparing their annual collection, which this year is supporting the Operation Christmas Child appeal.

The appeal is led by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian group that provides aid to people around the world.

Pupils at the village school have already donated more than 20 boxes to the cause and there are still a few days for others to take part.

Organisers say gifts should be packed into a lady’s shoe box with the box and lid separately covered in Christmas wrapping paper and secured with two rubber bands.

The boxes should also be labelled for a boy or girl aged two to four, five to 10 or 11 to 14.

Typical contents are a flannel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush or comb, notebook, pens and pencils (include a sharpener and eraser), colouring book and crayons, hat, gloves, scarf, socks, small toy such as a doll, skipping rope, puzzle or game and a small bag of wrapped sweets with a sell-by date of at least June 2016.

Other foods and clothes, books, medicines, battery-operated items, glass and ceramics are among the items that should not be included.

Boxes should be brought to the church by next Tuesday, November 17, so they can be distributed.

Organisers of the appeal can also collect boxes, where necessary.

For more information, contact Hilda Bungay on 01366 383904.