Hunstanton Mayor Tony Bishopp hopes to spread some smiles this Christmas.

Hunstanton Mayor Tony Bishopp is hoping to spread some festive cheer during these difficult times with the launch of a Christmas Gift Appeal.

He is asking people to add an extra present or two to their shopping baskets over the next month to help those less fortunate.

“Donating a present is a wonderful gift to give and will help to put smiles back to the faces of those less fortunate in our town,” he said.

Working alongside the town’s St Edmund’s Church, the food bank, community groups, charities and care homes, volunteers will sort and distribute the donated gifts, which can be for all ages from babies to adults.

Gifts must be new and not wrapped to enable them to be distributed to the appropriate age group.

Once donated, the gifts will be quarantined for a safety  period due to coronavirus.

The appeal is for items in categories of babies to five-year-olds, those aged six to eight years, nine to 11, 12 to 16, also adults male and female and gifts suitable for the elderly and homeless.

Gift ideas include dolls, teddies, toy trucks and cars, skipping ropes, small puzzles and games, dressing up or role play items.

Art and craft sets, painting sets, pens, pencils, coloured pencils, felt pens or crayons, stamping set with ink pads, notebooks and paper, calculators, colouring and picture books would also be gratefully received.

Mr Bishopp said toiletries would also be welcomed including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, bubble bath, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, flannels, hair brushes, combs and accessories. 

Other items could also include hats, gloves, scarves, socks, jewellery, nail polish, cosmetics, books, scented candles, wrapped sweets and chocolate.

The appeal is not able to accept sweets or confectionery containing nuts. Balloons or loom bands also cannot be included.

The appeal is open now until Friday, December 11 and items can be taken to collection points at: the town hall on the Upper Green, Hunstanton Community Centre, Heacham and District Community Car Scheme office, inside Hunstanton Community Centre, as well as participating churches and shops including Barnetts Hair Salon at Drove Orchards in Thornham – look out for the marked collection boxes.

The appeal organisers would also like to hear from anyone who works with families or children who would benefit from the donations and residents who know of someone who would benefit from a gift.

Contact the town clerk by email at: clerk@hunstantontowncouncil.gov.uk or call the town council on 01485 532402.

Mr Bishopp said the gifts did not have to be costly to make someone’s day.

People are also being reminded to adhere to Covid restrictions and not to take items to collection points if they or anyone in their household has any of the coronavirus symptoms.