That’s Christmas all wrapped up

Pupils donate presents to the 'Spirit of Christmas' appeal.
Pupils donate presents to the 'Spirit of Christmas' appeal.

Organisers of a new Christmas campaign have said they are overwhelmed by the generosity of local people who have donated more than 1500 gifts for Fife’s children.

The ‘Fife’s Spirit of Christmas’ group launched on social media site Facebook just four weeks ago with a view to collecting Christmas gifts for girls and boys up to 18 years of age.

After consulting with local groups, including Fife Gingerbread, Homestart, Women’s Aid and Fife Council’s social work department in Levenmouth, each organisation provided a ‘wish list’ of gift requests for children they knew would go without on Christmas morning, with the total number of requests standing at 1428.

But the group has already surpassed that number, with a few days still to go until the final distribution of gifts.

Christine Munro, who helped to set up the campaign after a friend ran a similar project in Glasgow, said: “It has just been amazing. We didn’t expect this kind of reaction and it has just snowballed.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has offered the use of its Fife stations as collection points – as well as Rejects in Kirkcaldy – and Christine said that had been a huge help.

“Having the fire service premises has been a godsend – without them, I don’t think we would have managed. We’re just so pleased with how many people have donated.”

Over 500 gifts have been handed in to Methil fire station.

Stevie Thomson, station manager, said: “We have been absolutely inundated with gifts – we’re on our fifth ‘emptying’ of the room where we’ve been keeping them.”

“People have really put a lot of thought into the gifts they have been giving as well – some have bought hats and scarves, others have included toiletries and things like that.”

Stevie added: “For an area like Methil, which is meant to be deprived, people have been so generous, even though they might not be well off themselves.

“Everyone here has really engaged with this and, although it started off slowly, we had a massive response over the weekend.”

Charlene Gilmour, a family mentor for The Gateway project in Levenmouth, said: “Thanks to the Spirit of Christmas appeal, our most vulnerable families will be able to give their children presents this year.

“This will help reduce the stress for parents who are experiencing poverty and often go without in order to provide for their children. The generosity of the Fife community in making this happen has been outstanding.”

You have until Friday to hand in gifts – with particular focus on boys and girls age nine-12 – to your local fire station, and end of the day on Sunday at Rejects on St Clair Street in Kirkcaldy.