Kendal couple give up Christmas gifts to aid charity

The Westmorland Gazette: Joyce and Andrew at their fund-raising Christmas event Joyce and Andrew at their fund-raising Christmas event

CHRISTMAS for one Kendal couple will no longer mean last-minute panic buying and trying to cross all friends and family off the present list.

Joyce and Andrew Waltham, of Peat Lane, Sandylands, decided that this would be different and instead they will give all the money they would normally have spent on presents to a charity.

And the gesture works both ways – they do not expect to receive any gifts either.

Mrs Waltham said: “I do not want to sound ungrateful – I loved all that I received last year – but I thought that at my age I do not need all of this stuff, so I wondered what else I could do.”

Rather than being given items to unwrap on Christmas Day, the 66-year-old asked her loved ones to go to a fund-raising Christmas tea party at her house, which attracted 50 people.

“We had lots of cake and tea and coffee and I went around town and asked places to donate prizes to a raffle,” she said.

“Everyone was so generous – I felt really lucky. I brought everyone together and there was such laughter. The house was full of joy and love.”

At first Mrs Waltham said people were a little shocked at the change, but after attending her party they changed their view.

“They thought it would be awful not to get any presents on Christmas Day, but it’s not – there are many people in this world who have nothing and sometimes it is just time to give back,” she said.

“They said that next year we should all group up and make it bigger.”

As well as raising £508 for the When You Wish Upon A Star charity, the grandmother-of-two was given £500 by Lakeland Ltd to add to the funds.

“It is such a wonderful cause, which grants wishes to sick children,” said Mrs Waltham.

“The people that work there are just so lovely and work so hard, and I will do the same for the charity next year.”

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