CHILDREN in a hospice will be treated to £1,500 worth of gifts tomorrow thanks to the generosity of people in the area.
Salesman Ian Hickton and his customers bought a range of toys and presents for youngsters in Naomi House, near Winchester, through the Kleeneze catalogue he delivers.
Customers throughout the area chose and paid for a gift from the catalogue which Mr Hickton then delivered to the hospice.
He also split the 21 per cent commission he would usually get from these sales evenly between the Rowans Hospice and Help for Heroes – the total of which was more than £350.
The 51-year-old, of Victor Road, Milton, said: ‘I was bowled over by the reaction the appeal got from customers because I wasn’t really sure how they would take it.
‘They must be the best customers in the country, they were just amazing the way they got behind the cause.
‘And people were so pleased that I wasn’t taking the commission, I think that’s what really helped gain their support.’
Mr Hickton, whose wife Rachel helps him distribute the catalogue, said he was keen to help a local charity rather than a national one.
‘I wanted to keep the money raised in the area and I think that struck a chord with my customers too,’ he added.
‘They feel a connection to these charities because they live near them, and even though Help for Heroes is national, there is a strong military connection in the area.’
The gifts, ranging from bouncy balls to dolls and farm sets, were wrapped and delivered to Naomi House last week ahead of Father Christmas’ arrival.
The hospice offers much-needed respite for children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses.
Keith Wilson, from Naomi House, said: ‘It was delightful to find out we had been donated all these presents for the kids, it means the world to them.
‘We try to give them as fun and fulfilling a time here as we can because we know their time is precious, and making sure we have a festive feel in the house throughout December is a big part of that.
‘These gifts will be greatly appreciated by the children.
‘I can’t wait to see their faces when they open them – they get so excited about things like that.’