Operation Christmas sees lorry drivers play Santa to help families

Dennis Anderson in his elf costume as lorry drivers delivered toys to charities in Felixstowe and Ipswich

Dennis Anderson in his elf costume as lorry drivers delivered toys to charities in Felixstowe and Ipswich - Credit: Stephanie Keus

Lorry drivers played Santa at the weekend to deliver Christmas toys and supplies to Suffolk charities.

Dennis Anderson, from Ipswich, co-ordinated the East Anglian effort for Operation Christmas 2021, run by CB Truckers UK.

The lorry drivers all talk to one another on an app, and were inspired to raise money after bad publicity about the lorry driver shortage and how it could affect deliveries at retailers.

Truck drivers Dan Ranson and Dennis Anderson with the Rev Andrew Dotchin at St John's Church in Felixstowe

Truck drivers Dan Ranson, left, as Santa, and Dennis Anderson, right, as an Elf, with the Rev Andrew Dotchin at St John the Baptist Church in Felixstowe - Credit: Bethany Harper

A team of local truckers raised £3,000, and on Saturday took two large lorries of toys and food to St John the Baptist Church in Felixstowe, for the Pushchair Pitstop charity and Felixstowe Parish Pantry.

They also delivered toys to the Salvation Army Ipswich Citadel in Woodbridge Road.

Local truckers and supporters were able to buy gifts from an Amazon wishlist, which were all delivered to Mr Anderson before being taken to the charities.

"I've got a one-bedroom flat, and they were piled to the ceiling," he said. 

"We had a great response and a lot of support, especially after a story went in the paper."

Youngsters helping as toys were delivered to Pushchair Pitstop charity at St John's Church in Felixstowe

Youngsters helping as toys were delivered to Pushchair Pitstop charity at St John's Church in Felixstowe - Credit: Bethany Harper

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A total of £2,500 was spent on toys, and £500 on food.

The Rev Andrew Dotchin of St John's Church posted on Facebook: "Thank you so much for all your hard work collecting presents and food.

"We have found over 100 children already to pass on gifts to and the food will keep our Parish Pantry stocked right up to Christmas Day."

The Salvation Army also posted: "So grateful to Dennis Anderson and all his helpers from CB Truckers UK, including Santa, for their generous gift donation."