Dance the night away as Fairies plan midsummer ball to help more people in Wigan

Organisers of a Christmas shoebox appeal which now helps people all year round is inviting Wiganers to put on their glad rags for a fund-raising ball.

By Gaynor Clarke
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 12:30 pm

Neonatal nurse Claire Hayward and Dr Emma Thornton, who both work at Wigan Infirmary, set up Shoebox Fairies in 2020 to provide gifts for vulnerable children at Christmas.

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It proved to be such a success that they repeated the initiative in December 2021, distributing 720 boxes across Wigan, and they hope to deliver even more next Christmas with their team of volunteers.

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They have also branched out and now put together boxes of essential items for other people, including new mums and their babies, and people starting a new life, such as asylum seekers and those fleeing domestic violence.

Emma said: “The refugees have been so well-receiving of them. It has been nice to give some of the service users the boxes themselves. It’s nice for the volunteers to know they have made that difference.

"I find that women with children who go into refuges often have funding focused on children, for toys for example, and mums get lost. For them to have something for themselves has been great. We have had the same with the mother and baby boxes, with mums sometimes wanting to open them alone so they can enjoy them.

"We have had some nice feedback from the people we have worked with. The only limiting factor is our ability to get the boxes and distribute them.”

Volunteers Kelly Parkinson and Helen Doward with parcels put together by Shoebox Fairies

To help raise money for the initiative, the team is now organising a ball, which will take place at St Peter’s Pavilion in Hindley.

It will be held from 7pm on Friday, June 24 – International Day of the Fairy – and there will be a midsummer theme.

Emma said: “There will be drinks on arrival, live music, a DJ, raffle and a three-course sit-down meal.

"We’re going to use the proceeds to keep doing our work.”

Tickets are now on sale and more information about the event and the organisation’s work can be found on the Shoebox Fairies’ Facebook page

Emma would also like to hear from anyone wishing to book a table or businesses able to provide sponsorship for the midsummer ball.