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Members play Santa's helpers

PUBLISHED: 01:13 02 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:46 03 March 2010

DESPITE their own difficulties, big-hearted visitors to an Ipswich day centre have devoted all their efforts to ensuring Father Christmas arrives on the doorstep of deprived children in Eastern Europe.

DESPITE their own difficulties, big-hearted visitors to an Ipswich day centre have devoted all their efforts to ensuring Father Christmas arrives on the doorstep of deprived children in Eastern Europe.

They may be physically disabled but the members of the St Raphael Day Care Centre, Highfield Road, managed to fill more than 30 shoeboxes with toys and presents, including essentials such as soap and flannels, all destined for former Eastern Bloc countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Working to support the Operation Christmas Child Appeal – itself run as one of the The Samaritan's Purse Charity – everyone, including staff, had fun in packing up the goodies – even though some people got a little carried away in covering the boxes in seasonal paper!

"We got there in the end," said Sue Groom, the centre's development manager. "It's the first time we've done this but everyone loved helping other people, even though they have their own disabilities."

As well as the centre's visitors bringing in their own gifts, a leaflet drop in the Highfield Road area asked people to donate items to the centre for packing.

Regular visitors to the centre whose physical disabilities prevented them from going into town to buy presents donated money instead to help with travel costs for the consigment of goodies.

More than £50 was handed over to the charity – and to make sure the packages arrived safely and in time for Christmas, the Rev Paul Bourner, of St Thomas Church, in nearby Cromer Road, offered a blessing of the boxes.

For more information on becoming a volunteer or member of the Day Care Centre, please call Sue Groom on 01473 748498.

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