SANTA’S little helpers manned the check-outs at Huddersfield’s Asda superstore yesterday as part of a world record bid.
Volunteers from charities and community organisations were at the store at Bradford Road, Brackenhall, to help set a new record for simultaneous bag-packing.
More than 200 stores across the country took part.
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The Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not Trust, Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees, police community support officers and students from Kirklees College all helped shoppers in exchange for a donation.
The record bid was part of the annual ITV Text Santa fundraising drive, promoted by shows such as This Morning and Daybreak.
All money donated to Text Santa is shared by six charities: Whizz-Kidz, Together for Short Lives, Age UK, Carers UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Anthony Nolan Trust.
The 20 bag-packers at Huddersfield – all wearing flashing Santa hats – were joined by a choir of carol-singers from three local churches and Honley Male Voice Choir, adding to the festive atmosphere.
The bag-packers were delighted by the support of shoppers despite tough financial times.
One of them, Judith Churley, a fundraiser for Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees, said: “Charities are definitely feeling the pinch.
“Families are being squeezed all the time but people are still being generous, which is really heart-warming.
“It’s great to be part of the record bid and raise money for good causes. Some people prefer to pack their own bags but still give us a donation.”
Richard Mitchell, a fundraiser for the Forget Me Not Trust children’s hospice, said: “It’s a great atmosphere and everyone is getting into the festive spirit.”
Keresha Corion, 16, Katie O’Brien, 17, and Carley Boltwood, 16, all studying child care at Kirklees College, were also busy packing bags.
“We wanted to show we care,” said Keresha. “And we’re all good at packing because we all shop with our mums!”
Also at the check-outs were police community support officers Helen Johnson and Adele Davies.
Shopper Alan Charles said: “It’s not every day you get your bags packed by the police.”
Adele said: “It’s really enjoyable to be part of this and we can help spread the crime prevention message as well.”
The bag-packers’ spirits were kept up by the carol singers from St Thomas’ Church, Bradley, St Hilda’s, Cowcliffe, and St Francis at Fixby, accompanied on the keyboard by Joyce Wild.
Jean Walmsley, church warden at St Thomas’, said: “We’ve had 15 or more people come along. It’s our gift to the community.”
A live Text Santa show will be screened on ITV on Friday December 21 and will feature stars including Ant and Dec, Paddy McGuinness and Holly Willoughby.
Asda hopes to sell 1.2 million flashing Santa hats for adults, children and pets to raise money for the campaign.
To donate text SANTA to 70070.