Sunderland school's kind-hearted gift donations brighten up Christmas for care home residents

Christmas at a Sunderland care home has been brightened with the donation of personalised gifts from city schoolgirls.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 7:00 am

All 26 residents and 54 staff at St Mark’s Care Home in Hylton Road have been given a gift to open on Christmas Day by St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy.

With care homes across the city devastated by the pandemic, the school wanted to do something to show their gratitude to key workers, while also lifting the spirits of Sunderland’s most vulnerable.

The 10 forms in Year 8, which has 240 pupils in total, were each given the names and interests of three residents and the girls donated personalised gifts that suited their interests. Staff and pupils from the school also donated a present for each member of staff which has gone into a lucky dip for staff to pick from.

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St Anthony's has donated gifts to St Marks Care Home

Year 8 head of year Rachael Fairclough couldn’t enter the care home due to the pandemic, but she dropped off the gifts to the entrance where staff members were delighted with the gesture.

Rachael said: “Each year group at St Anthony’s chooses a charity to support. This year we wanted to do something different and give something locally. It’s been such a difficult time for care homes and the key workers who work there so we thought it would be a good idea to support them.

"One of the pupil’s mams works at St Mark’s Care Home and she was able to give us the first name and hobby of each resident. So we knew one of the residents was called Patrick and what his interests were and that another was called Theresa and liked bubble baths, so it meant we could really personalise the gifts.”

The pupils also made cards for St Marks, as well as for other care homes in the city. Wild Bunch florists, which is owned by Lisa Mitchinson whose daughter Della attends St Anthony’s, also donated rose plants to be delivered alongside the gifts.

Head of year 8 Rachael Fairclough, right, donating gifts to St Mark's Care Home

Speaking about the delivery, Rachael said: “They were overwhelmed when I arrived with a car full of more than 100 gifts. It was actually quite emotional because care homes have been through so much this year. For the girls, it was a great way of showing them how they can have an impact in their community.”

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St Anthony's Year 8 pupils, from left, Louisa Murray, Rachel Dunn and Eva Harland, getting the gifts ready.
Each gift was personalised for a resident
Each staff member also received a gift for a lucky dip
Lisa Mitchinson from Wild Bunch donated rose plants