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Packed and ready to go!

Newbury Weekly News Over 80s parcels being distributed this weekend

Packed and ready to go!

MORE than 100 Cubs from across West Berkshire spent hours packing food parcels for the elderly on Sunday.

Every year since 1897, the Newbury Weekly News has delivered parcels to residents across the district who are over the age of 80 as a way of saying thank you for all they have contributed to their society during their lifetime.

The packing started at Sainsbury’s in Newbury just after 9.30am on Sunday and Cubs from all over the district – or Santa’s helpers as we like to call them – just kept arriving.

The parcels have been stored in Sainsbury’s for a few days, ready to distribute to nearly 2,000 of our elderly residents.

The Newbury Weekly News would like to thank Cubs and leaders from 4th Newbury, Greenham, 1st Newbury, 2nd Newbury, 3rd Newbury (Chandos) and (Dalby), Inkpen & Kintbury and last, but certainly not least, the Wash Common Cub group. 

The packing worked like clockwork and during the four hours it took to pack the 1,900 food parcels, the Cubs had a fun morning and also managed to gain points towards a community badge.

Thanks also go to Paul Jackson and Mo Osborne, the district Cub Scout leaders who organised the Cub pack schedule. 

In addition to help from the Cubs, many other people gave up their time, including employees from Sainsbury’s, James Wilcox from Fair Close Centre and Newbury mayor Elizabeth O’Keeffe.

The parcels are being distributed today (Friday) and tomorrow.

Thanks also go to Carol Irwin, PR ambassador at Sainsbury’s, who was in charge of the ordering and organisation of the large quantities of food, which is certainly a mammoth task.

The parcels are not means-tested in any way and the contents grow each year.

This year they all contain a main meal, an afternoon tea and some more treats to enjoy over the Christmas season. 

The bags also contain porridge oats, which are donated by PepsiCo in Reading thanks to James Stillman, a relative of Frank Stillman, the second editor of Newbury Weekly News, who started the Parcel Fund in 1897.

On Saturday, the mayor of Newbury hosted a coffee morning in the town hall, where people could donate money to the parcel fund in exchange for cuppa and a piece of cake.

Thank you very much for holding the coffee morning, as together with the raffle it brought in another £195.60 towards the cost of the Sainsbury’s food we put in the parcels.

Today is the day we see all the hard work come together, when the parcels are taken to the three distribution centres in Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford.

We will once again have the support of van drivers from Camp Hopson and Swift, who have helped us now for many years and also staff from Sainsbury’s, who ensure the correct number of parcels are sent to each centre.  

In addition, we have pupils from Trinity, Kennet and St Bartholomew’s schools helping in various places, either unloading the parcels from vans or distributing them to various elderly recipients all over Newbury and Thatcham, Hungerford and many surrounding villages.

Then, tomorrow, the parcels will be taken by kind people from Newbury Rotary Club, Round Table, CHAIN in Hungerford, Newbury Lions Club, Thatcham Rotary Club, British Legion, Thatcham and many other groups and we also have companies on board such as Vodafone and Southern Electric, whose staff give up their Friday or Saturday.

My sincere thanks go to all those very kind people who have volunteered to give up some of their valuable time this coming Saturday.

Good luck everyone.

Jo Fulker, Newbury Weekly News Over 80s Parcel Fund co-ordinator. 

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