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Courtney's Santa for sick children
6:00pm Wednesday 19th December 2012 in Countywide
A SCHOOLGIRL has collected more than 200 Christmas presents for sick children in hospital and elderly people this Christmas.
Courtney Hughes, 14, visited Oxford Children’s Hospital on Monday to hand over some of the gifts.
The presents donated included a toy remote control helicopter and a Star Wars chess set, as well as books, craft kits, blankets and slippers.
Courtney, from Didcot, said she was inspired to do something by family friend Kevin Ritson, whose daughter Ella received care at Helen and Douglas House hospice.
The Didcot Girls’ School pupil said: “It has been going really well, I have had a lot of support from my school.
“I wanted to give people in hospital the gift of having a happy Christmas, and not feel left out.”
Mr Ritson, 34, helped collect donations to the secret Santa at his Didcot newsagents K & K in Brasenose Road.
Ella first went to Helen House, the East Oxford children’s hospice, when she was six months old in 2004. An operation to remove a brain tumour had left her with cerebral palsy.
She lived until she was five and spent many nights at Helen House.
Oxford Children’s Hospital fundraiser Penny Hambridge said: “I think it is truly amazing that a young girl like Courtney thought of this idea of a secret Santa for the sick children.
“We are immensely grateful to her for gathering so many gifts for the poorly children.”
On Friday, Courtney is visiting Helen & Douglas House, in Magdalen Road, Oxford, to donate more presents to the young people there. Next week she will be visiting retired people at Hanover Court in Didcot to make her final present drop-off before Christmas.
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