Heartwarming gift idea exceeds expectations as Ayrshire children receive Christmas gifts


A community center and nursery in Irvine shattered their expectations for Christmas gifts.

Castlepark Community Centre’s annual wishing tree campaign, in partnership with Castlepark Early Years, has reportedly received more gifts from kind-hearted donors than ever before.

Now in its fourth year, the Christmas Wishing Tree ensures that every needy child in the community receives a gift they have asked for from Santa.

Speaking to Ayrshire Live ahead of the event, volunteer Sally McIntyre explained: “The wishing tree is not about collecting just any toys or gifts for children, we are asking people to give a gift that the child asked Santa Claus.

“It’s so important to make Christmas Day as special as possible and nothing makes a child happier than knowing Santa has given them what they’ve been looking forward to all the holiday season.”

Last year, about 70 gifts were donated to the wishing tree, but this year some kind-hearted donors broke that record.

Although the final tally has not been counted, it is believed that nearly 100 gifts may have been given this year.

Sally said: “They were taking the gift tags off the tree faster than I could put them. There wasn’t a single tag left from a branch, every kid who asked got what they wanted from Father Christmas this year.”

“I won’t know the final count until the nursery reopens next year, but we’re definitely over 70. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was around the 100 mark.

“It was a brilliant turnout and I can’t thank everyone enough for their donations.

“And I want to thank Darren Clark for donating £500 to the cause and his dad who added another £100 which helped buy the remaining gifts needed and even added food vouchers for Christmas treats .

“It’s hard to say what the most popular gift was this year; we had requests for Barbie Dream House and Paw Patrol and a lot of older kids wanted art supplies.

“We would also like to thank Tesco for supporting us and donating a new Christmas tree after last year’s tree was damaged in storage.”

Darren Clark, a man from Irvine, said: “I have donated to the Wish Tree Community Center for the past three years.

“It’s my favorite because you know it’s for someone near you and really makes their Christmas special.

“I also do charity work for Huntington.

“I raised money by creating a scratch card for a hidden football team and promoting it on social media.

“It sold out within a week.

“This Easter I will be raising money for Crosshouse Children’s Service.”

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