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Generous school children donate hundreds of items with ‘reverse’ advent calendar

Brian Wilson of the East Durham Trust collecting food for their food bank that has been donated by pupils at South Hetton Primary School. Pictured with Brian are organisers Make a Difference Committee l-r Lexie Brown (9) Abbey Hudson (8) and Leona Sykes (8).
Brian Wilson of the East Durham Trust collecting food for their food bank that has been donated by pupils at South Hetton Primary School. Pictured with Brian are organisers Make a Difference Committee l-r Lexie Brown (9) Abbey Hudson (8) and Leona Sykes (8).

Generous primary school children have donated hundreds of items to those in need through their ‘reverse’ advent calendar.

South Hetton Primary School pupils and the wider community brought food, toiletries and gift in and the items were then handed over to East Durham Food Bank.

Brian Wilson of the East Durham Trust collecting food for their food bank that has been donated by pupils at South Hetton Primary School. Pictured with Brian are organisers Make a Difference Committee l-r Lexie Brown (9) Abbey Hudson (8) and Leona Sykes (8).

Brian Wilson of the East Durham Trust collecting food for their food bank that has been donated by pupils at South Hetton Primary School. Pictured with Brian are organisers Make a Difference Committee l-r Lexie Brown (9) Abbey Hudson (8) and Leona Sykes (8).

The initiative was organised by the school’s Make a Difference Committee with the help of higher level teaching assistant Ann Ryall.

She said: “We have in our school a Make a Difference Committee, which aims to make a difference wherever we can within the community or wider world.

“We heard about a reverse advent calendar and wanted to try it in our school to see how we could help those who have very little at Christmas.

“Instead of taking out you would put something in.

We sent letters to all the children asking them to bring something in for families who are not as well off as they are

Ann Ryall, South Hetton Primary School

“We sent letters to all the children asking them to bring something in for families who are not as well off as they are.

“We didn’t expect it to be quite as successful as it was.

“The response was absolutely brilliant. There was a lot of food donated.

“We then opened it up to the community so that anyone in the community could bring items to the school.

“We had food items, toiletries, pyjamas.”

The school will now make this an annual tradition.

“From the response we got we will definitely do it again,” Ann said.

“It’s going to be something that we’ll organise again.

“I just think that in an ex-pit village, we are not rich, we don’t have a lot.

“People here know what it’s like to go without and have empathy and so perhaps are more willing to share what they do have.”