Denver digs deep to provide 229 festive shoeboxes for disadvantaged children

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Hundreds of disadvantaged children in eastern Europe are set to enjoy a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the efforts of people in a West Norfolk village.

A total of 229 festive shoeboxes have been collected for Smile International during a campaign co-ordinated by worshippers at the St Mary’s Church in Denver.

The donations are now set to be distributed to children in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Romania in time for Christmas.

Appeal organiser Hilda Bungay said a wide range of church groups, schools and families had dug deep to support the campaign this year.

She said: “This year has been another great success. It’s a wonderful effort that will bring Christmas happiness to many needy children.”

The donated boxes normally contain items including 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 2015.

Supporters are asked to wrap the boxes with festive paper and mark whether they are suitable for a girl or a boy aged either two to four, five to 10 or 11 to 14.

Among the groups who donated were pupils at Denver’s CE Primary School, who donated more than 30 of the boxes alone.

The school is a long-standing supporter of the campaign and a spokesman said: “For many children, it will be the only gift they receive and so is something they very much cherish. It is an event which we are happy to be involved in every year.”