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High Chelmer shoppers to become Secret Santas for charity appeal

High Chelmer visitors are this Christmas being invited to become a Secret Santa for people affected by life-limiting illnesses or bereavement, as the shopping centre teams up with local charity Farleigh Hospice to spread festive joy throughout the city and beyond.


On Saturday 30 November, a team of elves will be flying in from the North Pole and, from 11am until 4pm, they will be filling a giant stocking with lots of wonderful Christmas gifts. Chelmsford shoppers are encouraged to join in by selecting a name from a list and to purchase a gift for that person, who may be a child, young person or adult experiencing a challenging time.


Suggested items include sweets, chocolates and biscuits with a long shelf life, non-perishable Christmas food, toys, books and games for four to 18-year-olds, vouchers, arts and crafts products and toiletries. Those wishing to take part are kindly asked not to offer clothing, footwear, ornaments, plants or flowers.


Donations will be put into the stocking by the elves, with the contents to be presented to Farleigh Hospice to share with patients and their families, plus the children and young people who are receiving support for the YoYo bereavement project. Anything remaining will be used by the charity to help with its fundraising activities.


Debbie de Boltz, Fundraising Manager at Farleigh Hospice, said: “We are so grateful to High Chelmer who have always been a staunch supporter of Farleigh Hospice.  The hospice will remain open through the whole festive period offering specialist and compassionate care to those facing the hardest time in their lives, completely free of charge.


“Asking the local community to ‘get festive for Farleigh’ will help not just our patients, but also their families and in particular, will bring cheer to the young people who use our bereavement services. On behalf of all at Farleigh Hospice, a very big thank you to everyone who donates a gift.”

Alongside gift giving, shoppers will be able to take part in Christmas card-making activities and gift-wrapping sessions, with prizes up for grabs for standout designs. Mick McDonagh, centre manager at High Chelmer, said: “Christmas, for many, is a time for joy and celebration and we are looking forward to the community coming together and having great fun with us as they get into the festive spirit.


“However, we are also mindful of the individuals and their loved ones going through difficult situations and the Secret Santa activity is a simple gesture to bring smiles to faces and also show our appreciation to Farleigh Hospice for its efforts in making other people’s lives  brighter and more comfortable where possible.


“It’s a one-day only event, so we hope to welcome great numbers of visitors to High Chelmer,” Mick added. “Chelmsford is known for being home to generous and kind-hearted members of the public and I’m sure we can collect a fantastic amount of donations.”

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