Pub’s angels will bring Christmas joy

Some of the presents handed in so far that will be distributed to families in south east Northumberland that have been identified by childrens services.
Some of the presents handed in so far that will be distributed to families in south east Northumberland that have been identified by childrens services.

An emotional film has inspired the landlady at a pub in Seaton Delaval to come up with an angelic idea that will bring joy to kids in need during the festive period.

The Keel Row put a special Christmas tree in place as part of the initiative and all the gifts purchased by the participants will be distributed by Northumberland County Council children’s services workers covering the south-east of the county to families they have identified.

The youngsters – the age range is from young children to 17 – have written their name, age and the present they would like on a paper angel, which they have been told was an exercise as they were also able to colour in their angel.

These angels were placed on the tree in groups and, after raising awareness of the initiative, including on Facebook, regulars and people in the community came along to take one.

They have been buying the presents and returning to the pub to hand them in – all 165 angels have now been picked up and the deadline for bringing along the gift with its angel is Wednesday, December 20.

Landlady Sharon Herron said: “I saw Paper Angels six weeks ago and it made me cry as it is a very emotional film.

“When I stopped, I then thought we could do our own initiative using the paper angels concept and help kids in need this Christmas, so I called children’s services.

“I thought we would get about 20 people wanting to take part, but since the angels started to come in and I posted about it on Facebook, the response has been amazing.

“We kept on adding more and it’s great that all the angels have been collected. It’s also brilliant that these children will get exactly what they wanted.

“This shows what people are prepared to do in aid of families less fortunate in their community.

“One person taking part said the idea really touched him and so he went to Halfords to get a specialist bike for the child who had asked for a bike on the angel he picked up.”

The Keel Row has won a number of community accolades over the last few years, including the national 2017 Britvic Lifting Spirits Award.