Early Christmas present for kids

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HUNDREDS of disadvantaged and special needs youngsters were given a Christmas to remember thanks to a Wearside charity.

Hope4Kidz, based in Pennywell, held its Santa’s Christmas Party at Passion nightclub, Holmeside, to help bring seasonal cheer to children affected by long-term illness, disability and problems such as poverty and abuse.

Viv Watts, the charity’s chief executive, said about 400 youngsters attended the party with their families.

“Santa’s Christmas Party is one of the most popular events of the year,” she said. “Because it gives the children something to look forward to and a chance to escape their circumstances for the afternoon.”

The free event included live entertainment from a balloon artist, magician and face painters.

It also featured a bouncy castle and a pets’ corner, which included snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits and an eagle owl.

CHRISTMAS CHEER: A visit from Santa and balloon modelling were among the fun on offer at the Hope4Kidz Christmas party.

CHRISTMAS CHEER: A visit from Santa and balloon modelling were among the fun on offer at the Hope4Kidz Christmas party.

“All the children left the party very happy and probably very tired after all of the games and mayhem,” said Viv.

To help support children who were unable to attend the party, the Wearside charity launched an appeal for selection boxes and toys for hospitals, hospices, women’s refuges and special needs units around the North East.

So far, 3,788 gifts have been delivered.

Viv said: “We are extremely grateful to the Metrocentre for kick-starting the appeal by donating 300 goody bags, and Passion for sponsoring the party by donating the use of the club, providing the staff and the DJ.

“We also want to thank the public and businesses who continue to support our Christmas appeal.

Anyone wishing to donate selection boxes or toys can drop them off at collections points at Sun FM, Wearfield, Matalan Pallion, Dalton Park Shopping Mall, Morrisons in Seaburn, and Hope4Kidz, in Pennywell, before December 19.

For more information about the appeal or to arrange a Christmas delivery, call 534 7788, email vivien.watts@hope4kidz.org.uk or visit www.hope4kidz.org.uk.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho