Officers' heartwarming efforts

TWO police community support officers (PSCOs) from Ipswich are hoping to put smiles on the faces of sick children this Christmas by delivering hundreds of presents to Ipswich's children's wards.

TWO police community support officers (PSCOs) from Ipswich are hoping to put smiles on the faces of sick children this Christmas by delivering hundreds of presents to Ipswich's children's wards.

Kevin Smith and Michelle Malster are attempting to collect gifts for poorly children of all ages in a bid to improve their lives over the festive period.

PSCO Smith, who patrols the Handford Road area of Ipswich, spearheaded the scheme five years ago when he was working as a civilian for Ipswich police.

Now a PSCO he has more chances to get out and about to collect gifts.

He said: “This is a good way for the community support officers to do positive work and give something back to the community.

“I have a three-year-old who was a bit poorly when they were first born and had to go back into hospital for a couple of days. It is nice to give something back to people that helped your child.

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“At Christmas it can be heartbreaking going in and seeing some of the children with tubes in them and some who haven't got long to live. The main reason we are doing it is to see a smile on their faces.”

Presents are still being collected for children from a few days old to their teenage years.

The staff at Ipswich Hospital have advised officers that soft toys are not suitable and that there is a particular need for auditory toys, which make a noise or flashing lights, for children with physical or mental disabilities.

Dressing up items, dolls, prams, cars, tractors and anything to do with Thomas the Tank engine are particular favourites.

Anyone wishing to donate a gift should take their new present to any Suffolk police station and the gift will be forwarded.

There is no need to wrap the presents as the PSCOs will do this themselves.

Any gifts left over, when the presents are taken to the hospital on December 22, will be donated to Ipswich Children's Hospice and West Villa homeless family unit.

PSCO Smith said he wished to thank everyone who has donated gifts.

Are you organising a Christmas gift appeal? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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