Gift Tree appeal the ‘biggest yet’

Morrisons in Peterhead once again surpassed itself with a collection estimated at around 300 gifts
Morrisons in Peterhead once again surpassed itself with a collection estimated at around 300 gifts

Organisers of the 2017 Peterhead and Fraserburgh Gift Tree Appeal have thanked everyone who helped make the scheme one of the biggest yet.

From businesses to schools, churches to community groups, the whole of Buchan has rallied to provide those less fortunate than themselves with some festive cheer.

This year’s appeal was jointly coordinated by Peterhead volunteer Abbigail Stephen and in the Broch by Fraserburgh Development Trust.

The initiative brings together the Public Sector, Third Sector, business community and local groups to make a real difference.

Both the gift and food aspects of the appeal were tremendously well supported, with agencies including Social Work, Health Visitors and Families Nurses able to ensure the donations for more than 420 individual referrals met the demand.

Dozens of outlets hosted a Gift Tree where customers, friends and families could pick up a tag and donate items including toys, books, clothes, sweeties and bodycare products.

Disadvantaged children up to young adults have all been supported once again this year, while families and individuals in need have benefitted from food hampers to see them through the festive period.

Assisted by Aberdeenshire Council, HMP Grampian, Theatre Modo and a band of hard-working volunteer helpers, the vast volume of gifts and food has now been distributed to those who need it the most.

This year, more than 220 hampers were produced thanks to financial donations and food collections to meet the demand in Fraserburgh, Peterhead and wider Buchan area. These were packed by inmates at HMP Grampian overseen by Iain Craig who has been a long-time supporter of the appeal.

They were then transported free of charge by ASCO to collection points at Peterhead Community Centre and Fraserburgh Fishmarket, with forklift assistance from Taylormade Interiors, Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners and Newline.

Abbigal Stephen said: “I have been absolutely delighted with the donations of both gifts and food that I have seen come through the doors. I have met some amazing people and felt the community spirit in so many ways.

“I cannot wait to start all over again next year, with even more ideas and ambition. My very special thanks go to local man PJ Coutts who has provided so much support for the appeal both in terms of fundraising, pick-ups and helping out in so many ways.

“Finally, I would encourage everyone who has been involved this year whether it’s been with a gift, a food drive, a fundraiser or a financial donation to know you have made a real difference in so many ways, to local children and families this Christmas.”

Echoing those sentiments, Ken Duncan of Fraserburgh Development Trust said: “We are delighted to have once again witnessed such strong support once again for our Gift Trees and food drives from this big-hearted community.

“Every year we are humbled by the generosity of local folk.”