Amazing response to appeal means hundreds of Wigan children will get presents this Christmas

Caring Wiganers and an army of volunteers have made sure hundreds of children will get presents this Christmas.
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Daffodils Dreams launched an appeal to provide Christmas Eve boxes for vulnerable youngsters, so they could experience some of the magic of the festive season.

And they received so many donations that they decided to put together sacks of gifts for Christmas Day too.

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It means they will be able to experience a special day like so many other children, regardless of the difficulties faced by their families.

Volunteers at Daffodils Dreams with gifts and toys donated for children in Wigan at ChristmasVolunteers at Daffodils Dreams with gifts and toys donated for children in Wigan at Christmas
Volunteers at Daffodils Dreams with gifts and toys donated for children in Wigan at Christmas

Maureen Holcroft, from Daffodils Dreams, said: “These kids probably won’t be expecting much. They are either an older child and won’t want to put pressure on their parents because they won’t be able to afford it, or they don’t expect much because they have never had much.

“This year we have 300 Christmas Eve boxes. We have had to stop them because we are full to capacity and we have to keep going shopping. There will be way over 400 sacks of toys.

“I think it’s going to be the first in a series of Christmases for children where they get what other children do. It will be a good memory for them and hopefully we can carry on and do it next year.”

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The campaign by Daffodils Dreams, which was supported by the Observer, asked people to donate items for children to enjoy on Christmas Eve, such as pyjamas, DVDs and toys.

There were collection points across the borough, including at Asda in Newtown, and many businesses came forward to donate too.

Various organisations held collections, with large donations from the Balcarres Arms in Haigh and hampers from Varty’s funeral service.

Staff on Wigan Council’s reablement team held a Secret Santa but gave items for the appeal instead of usual gifts.

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Shane Sutton, at Goliath Strongman Gym in Wigan, collected more than £1,000 in donations from members and bought items requested by 16 children.

Maureen said: “We have had so much support from local businesses, I can’t believe it.”

Toy sales were held for second-hand items to raise funds, with anything not sold being donated to a charity.

The success of the Christmas Eve box appeal, which was being held for the first time, meant Daffodils Dreams could put together sacks of toys for the youngsters to receive on Christmas Day too.

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Maureen said: “We thought if parents can’t afford what happens on Christmas Eve, there’s very little chance of them being able to afford Christmas presents as well.

“When the social workers asked about Christmas Eve boxes, we told them about the toys as well.”

Maureen is grateful to everyone who donated gifts or money, bought items from an Amazon wish list or helped in other ways, and is particularly proud of her volunteers.

She said: “I want to thank our volunteers for the time and the effort and the passion and the empathy that they have shown while doing this. Thought has gone into each and every sack. They have been packed with love.”

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At the same time as preparing the Christmas gifts, the team at Daffodils Dreams has been continuing its usual work to help vulnerable families, providing essential everyday items and helping to support people in a range of ways.

They are looking for a shop and sponsorship to allow them to continue making a difference for people in Wigan. To help or find out more, go to

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