Christmas comes early for thousands

22 December 2014 in Council and democracy and Mayor and Older people
Three thousand elderly residents have received an early Christmas gift from Mayor Sir Robin Wales and Newham councillors who have been distributing hampers in the run up to the festive period.
(left to right) Mayor Sir Robin Wales, Cllr Chowdhury, Walter Cecil and Cllr Clarke.
The gesture has been led by the council’s Community Neighbourhood teams who identified vulnerable people aged over 70 who are on a low income and living alone.

Councillors were joined by around 40 volunteers from the council’s leisure provider activeNewham and local police officers in the mass effort to deliver the hampers, each worth more than £25 and filled with essential items including tea, coffee, tinned goods and biscuits.

The residents had received a surprise letter notifying them of their early Christmas gift last month. One such resident was Walter Cecil, 85, from Beckton. Walter, who worked alongside his father as a waterman on the docks, was presented with a hamper by Sir Robin, Beckton ward councillor Ayesha Chowdhury and cabinet member for building communities and public affairs, Councillor Ken Clark.

Walter said: “I was delighted to receive a letter offering me a Christmas hamper. It will make the holidays more enjoyable. I have never received a gift like this in the past. To receive one now has made me appreciate how much Newham Council is doing for its residents.”

Sir Robin said: “We are giving out hampers to older residents and they’ve gone down really well with those who have received them. The thank you messages we are receiving on a daily basis are really touching. We are delighted to have been able to give some of our older people a little extra something this Christmas. They have been a welcome treat and brought the community together in delivering this project, bringing a distinct Christmas feel to the borough. I’d like to thank all the volunteers and the local police officers that helped make this happen and wish everyone a merry Christmas.”

Police Community Support Officer Danielle Etheve from the Beckton Safer Neighbourhoods team who along with colleagues helped to deliver the hampers across that area, said: “The people we visited loved receiving their free box of goodies.  We’ve really enjoyed going out with local councillors to spread some goodwill in the community.”

The hampers were supported by donations from the Makro cash and carry store and the Aspers Good Causes Fund.

Residents wanting to play an active role in their community neighbourhood, or to find out more about what’s happening locally, visit