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Buckie Blythswood festive shoebox appeal smashes records after bumper response

By Alan Beresford

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THE cost of living crisis has not stopped a local Christmas appeal having its best year yet.

It was a record breaking year for the volunteer team behind Buckie's Blythswood Christmas Shoebox Appeal. Picture: Sam Johnston
It was a record breaking year for the volunteer team behind Buckie's Blythswood Christmas Shoebox Appeal. Picture: Sam Johnston

Blythswood Care Buckie's annual festive shoebox appeal ran in Buckie Baptist Church hall over November 6-8, with the public invited to either donate ready-filled shoeboxes or goods which could be used to fill them.

Thanks to the generosity of local people, a bumper 1577 – around 34 more than the campaign's previous record – were collected to be shipped off to spread some festive joy in Romania, one of the poorest countries in Europe. This marks a significant increase on last year's total of 1420, those boxes being sent to war-torn Ukraine.

In addition, nearly £3000 in cash donations was collected, the sum being used to help with the cost of transporting the shoeboxes by lorry to the Eastern European nation.

One of those left delighted with the record-breaking appeal was Buckie Blythswood organiser George Flett.

He said: "Buckie Blythswood Care Buckie would like to thank Buckie Baptist Church for the use of their hall and Buckie Methodist Church for the use of their tables.

"We'd also like to thank the school, church and local groups, as well as individuals, who provided shoeboxes, suitable goods to fill the shoeboxes and monies to help with the transport costs.

"Thanks goes to the Buckie Blythswood shop who for many was the first point of contact.

"The result of all these efforts was by Friday, November 10 1577 shoeboxes were at Blythswood HQ at Evanton ready to be loaded onto lorries for the journey to Romania.

"The sum of £2800 was raised to help with the transport costs."

This year's shoebox appeal also marked the end of era for the local team, with Mr Flett and his wife Joan stepping down after almost a decade and a half of service.

He added: "After this year's shoebox operation myself and Joan are stepping aside.

"We'd like to thank all of our colleagues and supporters for their help over the last 14 years and trust there will be continued support for the Blythswood shoebox appeal in the future."

Each shoebox is made up with a specific recipient in mind, categorised by both gender and age.

Shoeboxes contain small, non-perishable items such as toiletries, gloves and the like while the ones for children often contain small toys or stationery.

For more about the work Blythswood Care do all the year round, visit their website at https://blythswood.org/

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