Wokingham, get ready to give: Giving Tree Christmas appeal launched

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Giving Tree
Gillian Mckernan, Teso store manager Hayley Inwood, Judith and Julian McGhee-Sumner and Tesco’s Sue Lovell at the launch of this year’s Giving Tree Picture: Phil Creighton

This year’s Giving Tree Appeal has been launched to offer you the chance to make a local child smile this Christmas.

For more than 17 years, the generous people of Wokingham and the surrounding area have dug deep to make sure less fortunate youngsters stay on Santa’s list.The idea is simple, but it sparkles with the true spirit of the season.

You choose a tag from one of the many Giving Trees across the borough, buy the gift on the tag and return it (unwrapped) to the tree.

Big-hearted volunteers then go to work to get the presents to the local charities benefiting from the appeal and make sure they go to children whose stockings might otherwise have been empty on Christmas morning.

Last year, more than 2,500 tags were collected and hopes are high that Wokingham folk will be even more generous this time around.

Gill Mckernan, from Barnardo’s High Close School, organises the appeal with a team of volunteers, “especially the kind staff at Transform Housing, who sort and store all the gifts for the charities to collect”.

Attending the launch at Tesco in Wokingham’s Finchampstead Road on Saturday, November 10, alongside Gill was Wokingham Town Mayor, Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner and his wife Judith, store manager, Hayley Inwood and store colleague, Sue Lovell.

Mrs Mckernan said: “Last year was fantastic with over 2,500 tags taken from the trees but I have a feeling that this year could exceed that number. The appeal just gets bigger and bigger each year with more venues wanting to host a tree.

“No child who has asked for a gift through the Giving Tree will go without this Christmas. Supporting the Giving Tree does not mean spending a fortune. Any present will put a smile on the face of a child at Christmas.”

All shoppers need to do is choose a tag, buy the gift suggested and return it, unwrapped to the place where they collected the tag from. The children ask for such a variety of gifts, there is always something you can find to buy at all different prices.

Mrs Mckernan added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to PWC who have printed the tags and posters again this year as well as supporting the appeal by buying lots of gifts. Also to all the businesses who are hosting a tree this year.

“A massive thank you goes to Tesco, Wokingham for hosting the launch on Saturday and to all those who attended.

“We were all made so very welcome and rewarded with some tasty refreshments.”

Cllr McGhee-Sumner was equally delighted to have been part of this year’s appeal.

“I’m delighted to be involved at the launch of The Giving Tree and I hope it’s a great success,” he said.

If you can buy an extra gift to make someone else’s Christmas, find a tree near you and send it with love.

These are the venues where tags can be taken from:

  • Tesco Wokingham
  • Tesco Warfield
  • Nirvana Spa Sindlesham
  • Sedero Lounge Wokingham
  • Newbury Building Society Wokingham
  • Morrisons Woosehill
  • Wokingham Library

Charities benefiting from The Giving Tree:

  • Alexander Devine
  • ASD Family Help
  • Barnardo’s
  • Berkshire Vision
  • Children with Special Needs Foundation
  • Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centre
  • Home Start
  • Look Ahead
  • Sebastians Action Trust
  • Wokingham Young Carers
  • Womens Aid
  • Transform Housing

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