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Spiritualist church members dig deep to make it a happy Christmas for animal charities

Christmas has come early for stray animals across Wearside thanks to members of a Sunderland church.

By Kevin Clark
Friday, 24th December 2021, 12:04 pm

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Leaders of Sunderland Spiritualist Church handed over hundreds of pounds worth of food bought with donations from members of the congregation to two animal charities.

Representatives of Paws for Thought and Happier Days for Strays visited the church in Grange Terrace to collect the donations.

Treasurer Steve Hutchinson said the church had been raising funds for animal charities for more than a decade, inspired by his wife Libby.

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“My wife worked for social services for about 37 years and worked with animals,” he said.

"Since she retired about 12 years ago, it has been through the church. She and my sister-in-law Irene Smith make regular donations.

"She just loves animals – she can’t even go to the kennels because she just feels so upset.”

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Steve Hutchinson hands over the Christmas donations to Happier Days for Strays' Lisa Scott and Pawz for Thought's Jessica Appleby (right), watched by members of the congregation

The church’s charitable donations have been hit by covid over recent months: “We normally donated about three times a year but we have only been open again for three or four months,” said Steve.

"Initially, we were only open on Sunday and for the last few weeks we have been open on Saturday and Tuesday – but we used to be open six days a week.”

Despite having lost a number of members over the last year, the congregation still managed to raise around £400 which has been split between the two good causes: “We want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year,” said Steve.

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