BY SAM SMITH
Shop staff were bowled over by how many toys and presents visiting families donated to children’s charities – and 200 of them came after the big Christmas rush
The total number of gifts handed over to Lewisham Shopping Centre’s Giving Tree toy appeal finally rose to 1,400 – surpassing last year’s donations by almost 50 per cent.
The project supported two causes – Barnardo’s Catford and Demelza Hospice Care for Children in Eltham – trying to ensure that no child in the borough was left empty handed during the season of good will.
Due to the huge amount of donations, the centre and Demelza arranged a special Disney-themed tea party which saw some of the extra donations made by shoppers in the borough given out to more children and families that the charity supports.
Shoppers were out in force, picking up extra gifts while they bought presents for family and loved ones, leaving the extra ones at the centre’s drop-off point.
A team of helpers, including Met officers, made sure all gifts were delivered in time for Christmas to the charities that provide vital support to communities across Lewisham. Jennifer Heritage, Demelza’s community fund-raiser, said: “We were really thrilled to be a part of this amazing appeal for the second year running.
“The presents donated went out to the babies, children and young people we support and the extra donations allowed us to put on a Disney themed tea party for those who receive care, and they truly loved it.
“We are astounded by the Lewisham Shopping Centre’s customers’ support for this appeal, and are looking forward to helping share some joy with these amazing children.”
Lewisham Shopping Centre manager Paul Redden said: “This year’s appeal was the best yet and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our shoppers.
“Every person who popped into the centre and donated a gift has given us the ability to deliver presents to even more children across Lewisham who may not have the Christmas we enjoy each year.
“On behalf of Lewisham Shopping, and the charities taking part, we would like to say a big thank you for taking part.”