Leyland man collects over a 1000 Christmas selection boxes for children living in poverty
The charitable effort was all off Stephen's own back, with help from the Leyland community.
A man from Leyland has collected over 1000 selection boxes for children living in poverty, as part of his 12 Days of Christmas selection boxes appeal 2021.
Starting on Wednesday December 1, and ending last Sunday (December 12), 53 year old Stephen Wilson, with the help of his 'Christmas elves' and local businesses, managed to collect 1014 in total, which will be going towards Cash for Kids and the food bank at the Community Network Outreach Service, Leyland.
Stephen, who, in true Santa fashion, works in the delivery service, at APC parcels in Southport, said: "I've been doing charity work for 25 years, just off my own back, and last year, I decided I wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas selection boxes appeal so that children living in poverty, or who have fallen on hard times, especially during the pandemic, could wake up to a selection box on Christmas Day, and I collected 829. This year, I decided to do it again because it was such a good thing last time, so I got my Christmas elves together, the people that always support the work that I do, and it was amazing, 1014 selection boxes in 12 days is pretty good going!"
As well as Stephen's personal efforts, his Christmas elves, Stephanie Lowe, Shirley Wilson, Emma Davey, Ruth Louise Raynor, John James, Julie Deanm and Chris Hammel collected 466 selection between them.
The collection was a big community effort, with the selection boxes, or the money to buy them with, being donated by individual members of the public and Leyland businesses, for instance Bouncelona Bouncy Castles donated £100, and Tesco Leyland Extra, K T Boutique and APC Paddy Worsfold Events and Fundraising also donated to his cause.
Originally from Bacup, Stephen, who has lived in Leyland for 18 years with his now husband, Jason, added: "The reason why I do it is, when I was 10 I lost my dad very suddenly, and for the first Christmas, times were very hard because my mom was in her 30s and had four kids to look after, my brother had to leave school early to bring money onto the table, and the local church supported us and supplied us with Christmas presents and selection boxes, just so that we could get through the first year so I kind of know how it feels.
"That's also why I've always done a lot for children's charities, I used to be a volunteer for Cash for Kids at Preston, and I'm still involved with the local food bank at Moss Side in Leyland, which is Community Network and Outreach Services, so that's where it's going to, it's being split half way, so I just feel good knowing that 1014 children in in Leyland are now going to be receiving a selection box."
The selection boxes will start being delivered to the charities from today, who will then distribute them to children from struggling families, in time for Christmas morning.
Stephen has already promised to do the Christmas selection boxes appeal 2022 so watch out for his posts in the Leyland Hub Facebook group next Christmas.