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NWN Over 80s Parcel Fund bringing Christmas cheer to West Berkshire's elderly residents

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'The pleasure you all give you us with our Christmas Parcel you’ll never really know.'

That is just one of the many messages of thanks the Newbury Weekly News has received every year, since we first began helping residents at Christmas at the end of the 19th century.

Every year since 1897, this newspaper has been helping West Berkshire residents bring some Christmas cheer into the lives of their older neighbours, through the Over 80s Christmas Parcel Fund.

Over 80s' Parcel Fund provides a Christmas package for residents
Over 80s' Parcel Fund provides a Christmas package for residents

The fund started out as the ‘Two T’s fund’, when tobacco and tea were sent to Newbury’s oldest residents. It was set up by Frank Stillman, an NWN reporter at the time who went on to become the second editor.

The Parcel Fund has changed over the past 100 years but the aim is still the same; to ensure all our elderly residents are never forgotten by their local community.

It is just one way of us all saying a very big thank you for all they have done during their lifetime.

The fund-raising for this year is now in full swing, with the Bowler’s Arms Quiz night taking place last week. And, for the first time in 20 years, we have had to turn teams away.

More than 20 teams enjoyed the event at the newly refurbished Bowlers Arms, Enborne Street - coming from all over West Berkshire and as far away as Reading and Basingstoke - to battle it out for the title.

This year the winning team was 'We’re the beer men' who won by half-a-point and more than £1,000 was added to the Parcel Fund coffers.

The sports quiz for NNW's Over 80's parcel fund. Picture by: Jo Fulker.
The sports quiz for NNW's Over 80's parcel fund. Picture by: Jo Fulker.

If you are more of a coffee person, then on Saturday, November 27, from 10am to 12noon, come and join us for a cup of tea/coffee and a piece of home-made cake in Newbury Town Hall and meet Newbury mayor, Billy Drummond.

There will be a raffle and other stalls too, all to help raise more money for this year’s Parcel Fund.

The lists have now been drawn up, food has been paid for and is being ordered by Sainsbury’s, who have the unenviable task of managing to order such vast quantities of mince pies, and other tasty treats that come in the parcels.

Cubs are being rounded up, from all over Newbury and the surrounding villages, by Mo Osborne an experienced cub organiser, who is putting together a schedule to enable us to have helpers for the four hours that it takes to pack our 1,900 food parcels. All while following strict COVID rules.

These are being packed next Sunday (November 28), together with kind volunteers from Sainsbury’s too.

If you would like to support our fundraising by donating through The Good Exchange your money will be doubled by Greenham Trust. Every £1 donated or raised by the public or local businesses and paid in via the fundraising appeal on The Good Exchange platform (up to £5,000) will be matched.

If you would like to make a donation please go to https://app.thegoodexchange.com/project/19160/newbury-weekly-news/newbury-news-over-80s-parcel-fund 2021

Alternatively, if you would like to contribute by post, please send a cheque made payable to ‘NWN Over 80s Parcel Fund’ for the attention of Jo Fulker, to Newbury Weekly News, Newspaper House, Faraday Road, Newbury RG14 2AD.

As it is now all happening and to keep abreast of the latest news, see the Newbury Weekly News each week until Christmas.

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