Big-hearted readers bring Christmas joy to the needy

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If you are spending today wrapping the umpteenth present to place beneath your tree, stuffing a turkey large enough to feed the 5.000 and gathering the family to listen to the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, thank your lucky stars.

For amid all the rampant commercialism that has come to signify the modern Christmas, spare another thought for those for whom the season means nothing but gloom and despondency.

We say ‘another’ because hundreds of you have already done just that.

The generosity of readers of The News is legendary.

But this year you have done us and, most importantly the wider Portsmouth community, proud.

It would be satisfying at this point in the 21st century never to have to consider launching a Christmas appeal.

Sadly and realistically that is not going to happen.

There are countless people among us who might well have celebrated Christmas in the fashion described above, never dreaming they would one day hit rock bottom; never dreaming that one day they would not have the cash to buy enough food to get them through the festive season.

We all know people who have fallen victim to these harsh economic times.

So it gladdens the heart to be able to report today that you are record-breakers.

Our annual food appeal for Christmas has been the biggest and best ever.

You have donated tons of food – 30 trolleyloads in all – to be distributed among the needy of the area.

And in doing that you will have brought a smile to dozens of people and made their Christmas.

As recipient Helen Davis says today: ‘It’s about caring and sharing. If we can help somebody else out then that’s what it should be about. I’m very grateful. It’s nice that people actually think about other people.’

So, thank you one and all for your generosity and for helping make Christmas a little more tolerable and hopefully a memorable family occasion for those who were dreading it.