Students respond to appeal for Christmas gifts for deprived children

Richmond School and Sixth Form College students and staff hand over a collection of Christmas toys to Tesco community champion Amanda Smith.

Hundreds of children who were facing a bleak Christmas without presents are guaranteed festive cheer thanks to the generosity of a community that rallied to the cause.

Sixth formers and staff at Richmond School and Sixth Form College responded to a plea for help from Tesco in Catterick Garrison.

After talking to social services, the supermarket’s community champion Amanda Smith identified 310 children who were unlikely to receive any Christmas presents at all this year.

This story continues after the adverts:


She and Tesco baker Jackie Wilson, who is also a school dinner lady, mobilised staff and students who responded with a deluge of gifts, all wrapped in festive paper.

Amanda said: “We wanted to do something for the local community and were shocked to hear that there were so many children in Richmondshire who were unlikely to receive a single present because their families were struggling to make ends meet.

“When I heard how many children there were it broke my heart and we simply had to act.

We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response from Richmond School and Sixth Form College. Staff started with the idea of a secret Santa and it simply grew and grew and now we have hundreds of presents.”

Ex-soldiers, who are members of Veterans Woodcraft and Blind Veterans, also created a sleigh, with reindeer and a trailer, to make the appeal even more special, which is on display in the store.

Head of Richmond Sixth Form Leslie Richardson said: “I am so proud of our students, who have done an amazing job.

“They are so caring and I knew as soon as they heard about the plight of the children they would be quick to act.

“They are the kind of students who want to make a difference and certainly have to these children’s Christmas.”