Wathalls Collect Lifeline Gifts For Children Worldwide

Derby and Ashbourne family-owned funeral directors G.Wathall & Son Ltd have collected more than 1,000 shoeboxes of Christmas gifts, hygiene and school supplies which are now being shipped around the world to children in need.

The funeral directors have been involved with Operation Christmas Child, run by charity Samaritan’s Purse and coordinated locally by Rotary Club of Derby, for the past five years. They collected and stored the shoeboxes at its offices in Macklin Street, Derby, and Union Street, Ashbourne, and then delivered them to the charity’s local warehouse in Derby. The business says that there had been the best response ever from staff, families, schools, churches and local businesses including Shoe Zone and The Entertainer who have also collected boxes for the annual appeal.

G.Wathall & Son Managing Director Helen Wathall said: “Operation Christmas Child is a simple way of putting together a box of Christmas toys and essential supplies that will be so gratefully received by a less fortunate child across the world. “We are delighted with the response from the Derby and Ashbourne communities. Some of our staff have also been involved in checking and sealing the boxes in the main warehouse before they leave on their journeys overseas to around 150 countries where children are affected by poverty, disease and war. “The staff said it made them feel so honoured and what better way could there be to get in to the Christmas spirit knowing the joy that box will give to a needy child.”

Richard Benfield from the Rotary Club of Derby added: “We are very grateful to G Wathall & Son for their continued support for Operation Christmas Child. “We hope to have collected more than 8,000 boxes by the time the shipment goes out in early December.”

One of the local volunteers working in the warehouse is Maggie Muzzell who also meets with fellow crafters throughout the year to make a wide range of hats, scarves and toys for the boxes. She said: “I have been involved in this for around seven years.  It is important that children who have nothing know that there are people from other countries who love them and want them to receive gifts at Christmas.”

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