GENEROUS readers of the Shuttle have donated a record number of presents for our annual Christmas Gift Appeal - which will see hundreds of children across the district receive an unexpected treat on Christmas morning.

We have once again teamed up with charity Home-Start Wyre Forest for our annual appeal and collected a staggering 805 presents to be given to children across the Wyre Forest district.

This year, group donations were received from Chaddesley Corbett Primary School, the Swan Centre, Weavers Wharf, As One Vegan Lifestyle, Midcounties Co-op, Tesco, Bewdley Methodist Church, the Elizabethan School, Stourport Civic and the Salvation Army - but the majority of gifts were donated by kind readers of the Shuttle, who bought a gift for a local child.

The donated presents - for children aged from 0 to 18 - were then collected by Home-Start volunteers, who have had them wrapped and will be delivering them throughout this week to families who are in receipt of Home-Start’s support, before Christmas Day.

Belinda Darby, Home-Start manager, said: “We can’t express enough our amazement at the quality and quantity of the gifts donated to the appeal and the thought people have clearly put in to their donations.

“Last year’s total of more than 700 gifts was pretty amazing, but to exceed that this year is really wonderful and has enabled us to give families more than one gift each and several to the most in need children.

“We hope those who donated realise how much their gifts will mean to the families we support.

“It is such a pressured time of year for everyone, but for families with added pressures of isolation, depression, past trauma or illness, it can be a very challenging time.

“To receive an anonymous gift, with nothing required in return, can ease the pressure and make the season a little more enjoyable - but more importantly, it’s sending out the message that someone is there and cares about them and their family at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

“I am really proud that our community in Wyre Forest is so committed to thinking of other people at this time, every year. It is a privilege to be involved with the appeal, year on year.”

The Shuttle Christmas Gift Appeal has been running since 1995, when it was called the Christmas Tree Appeal, and has been lighting up the faces of children in need in Wyre Forest ever since.

Home-Start have been involved with the appeal for more than a decade and they enable presents to be delivered to every child in receipt of their support across the district at Christmas time.

For more information about Home-Start, visit or call 01562 825896.