Good Neighbours: Ilford schoolchildren dish out Christmas gifts to borough’s needy

St Peter's and Pauls primary school pupils with head Sue Johnson and Pc Dean Kirkby and PCSO Heidi W

St Peter's and Pauls primary school pupils with head Sue Johnson and Pc Dean Kirkby and PCSO Heidi Wilson - Credit: Archant

More than 100 elderly people across the borough received Christmas gifts from generous Ilford schoolchildren this week.

The Christmas shoebox appeal, co-ordinated by Ilford Police officer Heidi Coupe-Wilson and staff at St Peter and Paul’s Primary in Gordon Road, Ilford, saw more than 100 boxes collected from students filled with gifts such as toiletries, chocolate and biscuits, socks, hats and gloves.

PCSO Coupe-Wilson and her Safer Neighbourhood’s Team distributed them throughout the borough.

“Twenty-five went to Oaklea Lodge Day Care Service in Goodmayes Lane which looks after older people in the day,” she said. “Twenty went to members of the Sunshine Club and Stroke Club in Parkside Community Centre, Goodmayes Lane, where old people go to meet and socialise.

“Forty were distributed to older people who had been victims of crime throughout the year such as burglary or scams. We give them to people who are alone and don’t have any family and won’t spend any time with people this Christmas.

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“The rest go to homeless people.”

The scheme has been running in Ilford for a number of years and is popular both with students and the recipients.

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“The presents are always very well received,” added PCSO Coupe-Wilson. “Giving them out is one of the nicer parts of my job. And some of the children who don’t have grandparents write a nice card or letter to the recepient who sometimes write back, which is nice.”

Headteacher at St Peter and Paul’s Primary Susan Johnson added: “The Christmas boxes are an integral part of our school celebrations. The children bring them in over the course of a week or two and we stack them under the tree. They love seeing all the presents and knowing they’re going to make Christmas better for some old people who don’t have families.”

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