Volunteers wrap thousands of presents to help families across Leigh Park get a good Christmas

HUNDREDS of children will wake up to presents on Christmas thanks to their kind-hearted community.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 6:11 pm

Around 200 volunteers turned up to St Francis Church in Leigh Park to take part in the annual Big Wrap event, organised by PO9 Food Bank which sees hundreds of donated presents given the finishing touch before being delivered to families across Leigh Park and Havant.

Organiser Darren McKenna said: ‘This year is bigger than ever and we are helping out 120 families but we have had thousands of presents that have been donated and it is lovely to see so many people come out to help.

‘For me I wanted to start this because when I give out food with the food bank I get to feel good helping people and I wanted to let other people have that feeling. As a former addict as well it helps keep me clean because it is something good to focus on.’

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Louise Fisher and her daughter, Lulu, six Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-33)

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This year saw a new system brought in to make the presents as personalised as possible for the families.

Darren added: ‘There was the idea to have it set out differently so it is more organised and instead of random presents being wrapped we sort the families’ presents into a pile and take it to one table to wrap.

‘It also gives the chance for the people here to chat and get to know each other and become friends over doing something amazing.’

Becky Brent and her daughter, Georgia, four Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-31)

Lorraine Ennis from Leigh Park has taken part in the event every year.

She said: ‘Leigh Park has a bad reputation but that is not true because we are a tight knit community and everyone always helps each other.

‘I want to be here to help people in my community have a good Christmas.’

Nine-year-old Nancy-Mae Wright has spent the last year raising money on her Facebook page, Cookie and Cream, by selling crafts she has made.

The Big Wrap at St Francis Church, Leigh Park. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-32)

The youngster said: ‘When I was younger my mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said I wanted to help the poor.’

Mum Sara said: ‘I am extremely proud of her and what she is doing and it is great to come and help at the Big Wrap.’

Volunteer Michelle Smith added: ‘Everyone in Leigh Park comes out to help each other no matter what the time of year.’

From left, Gail Keogh, Vikki Bowyer and Carmilla Tricker Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-29)
From left, Beverley Underwood, Stuart Lack and Lorraine Ennis Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-30)
The Big Wrap Picture: Chris Moorhouse (211219-28)