10:36 Tuesday 17 December 2013

'Phenomenal' response to Christmas gift appeal

Written byROB SMYTH

THE man who orchestrates an annual Christmas campaign to bring presents to needy children has labelled this year as ‘the most successful ever’.

Derek Liddle revealed that an incredible haul of more than 1,500 gifts had been handed over by the generous people of Burton as part of the Derek’s Tree appeal.

So many presents were handed over at the stall in Coopers Square shopping centre that Santa’s little helpers had to spend an extra day delivering the gifts.

Mr Liddle, who has been running the appeal for 19 years now, said: “It simply is the best that we have had since we started doing this.

“I continue to be amazed by the generosity of the people of Burton and the surrounding areas.

“People have been telling me for years now that we will start to see a dip due to the economy or that people will just stop giving and I have always told them that it will never happen.

“The people in Burton are just phenomenal and the support that everyone has given us this year and in all the previous years has been second to none.”

An early estimate by Mr Liddle revealed that more than 1,500 gifts had been collected, which now have been distributed so that disadvantaged children and young adults around Burton have something to open on Christmas Day.

Mr Liddle added: “We have had to spend an extra day handing all the stuff out as we have had so much coming in this year.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped make this our best year yet and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

“And do not worry, I will be back in 2014 for the 20th year of the Derek’s Tree appeal.”

The appeal is centred on a tree inside Coopers Square shopping centre and people remove tags from the tree with a deprived child’s name and preferred Christmas present written on it.

The presents are then bought by customers in the shopping centre, handed over to the charity workers and then distributed to dozens of deprived children.

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