Hundreds of gifts are collected in Fareham for children in the Philippines

Shelagh Pickard with the boxes collected for children in the Philippines by the Fareham Meon Rotary Club
Shelagh Pickard with the boxes collected for children in the Philippines by the Fareham Meon Rotary Club
Haverhill's Family Christmas Night (as pictured from last year) takes place on Friday, December 1. Picture by Andy Mayes.

Haverhill festive weekend has plenty for all of the family

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HUNDREDS of children living in poverty in the Philippines will be receiving Christmas presents this year thanks to the kindness of Rotarians.

The Fareham Meon Rotary Club collected 1,556 shoe boxes full of practical and fun gifts to bring cheer to underprivileged youngsters.

Retired school teacher Shelagh Pickard, from Fareham, helped the club to pack and send the boxes.

The boxes were categorised by ages for boys and girls from one-year-olds to 15-year olds.

The children live by and work on one of the huge rubbish dumps in Manila.

And Mrs Pickard’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by members of the club.

Brian Ray said: ‘After a chance meeting with a member’s wife three years ago last year she produced 51 boxes, but this year she donated a record 84. Her work is amazing. Families, friends and 21 schools were also involved to help our Rotary Club achieve a record number of 1,556. Our record before that was 1,312 in 2014.

‘The club and the Filipino children are extremely grateful to all those who took part.

‘Not only for the boxes but also for the loan of an industrial unit and of a removal van to transport the boxes to the depot at Hedge End.’

Members of the Rotary Club of Fareham, with their business partners at specialist Fareham acoustics company Dancor, collected 69 boxes.

Rotary Club of Fareham president Bob Mussellwhite said: ‘We are certainly going to be bringing happiness to many children in the Philippines who may not otherwise have received Christmas gifts.

‘We will have made a small contribution to their lives – just why we joined Rotary, to make a difference.’

The Philippines has on average 20 typhoons a year and Typhoon Koppu, which happend in October, was followed by devastating floods.

As well as the festive appeal for the Philippines, the Rotary Club also operates a Shoebox Scheme all year round, which sends parcels to people in central and eastern Europe. See rotaryshoebox.org