Thanks to a hugely successful department store advert, more than 520 gifts are being handed out to needy and lonely people in Mirfield this Christmas.

For the John Lewis ad being screened on TV inspired a local businesswoman to get friends and acquaintances to help her help others over the festive season.

And last weekend volunteers started delivering gifts to people nominated for a Christmas boost across the area.

Clare Moorhouse, who owns the To Have and To Hold bridalwear shop in Mirfield, is behind the idea, sparked when she watched the advert which depicts an elderly man alone on the moon who is given a telescope by a young girl so he can feel in touch with the world.

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Victoria Wallin, one of a committee of five who have put the scheme together, said: “We have been asking anyone out shopping to donate a little something – biscuits, blankets or anything which might be useful to a needy person. Before we knew it we had more than 500 donations.”

Victoria, who lives in Lower Hopton, then asked Battyeford Primary School if pupils would make cards to go with each gift and they agreed. Now, the other four primary schools in Mirfield are also on board – Hopton, Old Bank, Crossley Fields and Crowlees.

Mirfield community gather at Battyeford Primary School, to wrap Christmas presents for the needy.
Mirfield community gather at Battyeford Primary School, to wrap Christmas presents for the needy.

“We had 130 private nominations for recipients and gifts will also go to care homes and day centres,” said Victoria.

Joining Victoria and Clare on the committee are Helen McKecknie, Kirsty Bland and Rebecca Moorhouse.

“It is the first time we have done this and it would never have happened but for the John Lewis advert,” she said.

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And because of the incredible community support, the committee might do the same thing again next year.

Well over 40 people helped wrap the gifts and each of the 522 presents came with a card. All were stored at Battyeford Primary which also donated use of its hall as a base.

Schoolchildren will be visiting homes and centres to hand out items there as well as singing carols.

“It has been amazing,” said Victoria.

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