Edge of season! Church’s good spirited toy story

PARISHIONERS from a Shaw church have donated presents to people on probation in a move capturing the spirit of Christmas.

Hayley Stapleton, Val Ridley and Carl Duddridge

Worshippers at Shore Edge Methodist Church, Buckstones Road have donated new and second-hand gifts to Oldham probation for more than 20 years.

Toys are collected by the Cheshire and Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company’s (CGM CRC) probation

case managers Carl Duddridge, Chris Oakley and Hayley Stapleton, who then distribute them among offenders who are known to have children and be in need.

Parishioner Val Ridley helps run the initiative and said: “The children get so much at Christmas.

“We encourage them to think about others in the borough during the festive period who might not be as lucky as they are and to donate toys to them.

“PC Humphreys started it off more than two decades ago.

“He knew that many people on probation were in need and it’s now a regular fixture in our festive calendar.

“Children donate their own toys and buy new ones especially for the occasion.”

On the first Sunday in December the toys were brought to a special service, before being collected by CGM CRC the following day.

Carl, who is based in CGM CRC’s Oldham office, said: “We run a women’s centre for female offenders and the toys are extremely gratefully received by those for whom we know money is tight.

“It captures the real spirit of Christmas and illustrates that there are some really nice, genuine people out there who care. It helps us to help our service users.”

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