Daniella is real life Mother Christmas...

Daniella Sargent who has set up a Christmas shoe box appeal.
Daniella Sargent who has set up a Christmas shoe box appeal.
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Mum Daniella Sargent has turned into Mother Christmas.

She has touched the hearts of people in Burnley and Pendle with her Facebook page, Santa Never Forgets, and her appeal for Christmas gifts for local children whose families are going through rough times.

It has been amazing, and shows people’s kindness

Daniella Sargent

Daniella Sargent, who works at Cherry Fold Primary School, came up with the plan at 3am, when she could not sleep. She and her family have sent Christmas shoe box gifts to Africa for years, and now she is spreading the shoebox cheer to children nearer home.

Her page, created only weeks ago, had already had nearly 7,000 views, and has inspired friends and colleagues from across the area to rally round.

Collection points are already busy at Whitegate Children’s Centre, Padiham, and at Sandwich City, in Lowerhouse Lane.

Donations are also being collated at the Eastern Avenue plant of automotive supplier ZF TRW, where Toni Doherty, Bev Driver and Nicola Penny have a stack of empty shoes boxes stand ready to be filled, and are arranging transport for the all-important deliveries.

The boxes will be distributed through organisations and include the Womens’ Refuge, Whitegate Children’s Centre in Padiham, SafeNet, Safe Space, Cherry Fold, Community Solutions, Emmaus, the YMCA and the Elizabeth Street Project in Burnley.

The presents will go to children from birth to 17 years of age. Daniella came up with list of nearly 100 suggestions for across the age range, none of which break the bank. Items too large to fit into a shoe box will be individually wrapped to be distributed.

“It has been amazing, and shows people’s kindness ”, she said. “I set the page up and there had been responses by 9am. My house looks like Santa’s grotto.

“I’ve done shoe boxes for Africa for years, but children on our own doorstep need them as well.

“We’ve getting in touch with local firms and shops, and we’re hoping for a good response. Some of the larger stores asked for our registered charity number - we aren’t in that big business league, Everything that is given, be it new or in good second-hand condition, will be appreciated. We are simply giving a few Christmas presents to local children who otherwise would get nothing at all. “