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£6,000 Christmas surprise from Asda helps Down's Syndrome group

By Asda Community Team

December 18, 2017 02:12pm
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You can see why the volunteers at this community group described themselves as "absolutely flabbergasted" when they were presented with a surprise £6,000 Christmas grant from the Asda Foundation.

The group receive the cheque
Dewsbury group receive the cheque

Sharon Kingswood, the community champion at our Dewsbury store, regularly volunteers with the Downs and Special Friends support group and was helping at their Christmas party when she and other Asda colleagues sprang the surprise.

Jacky Eva, who set up the group two years ago, said: "It's an absolutely fantastic Christmas present – it's touched us all."

The group aims to provide activities, events and support for around 200 children and adults with Down's Syndrome and other disabilities like autism, as well as helping their families too.

The children enjoyed a visit from Santa, face painting, balloon modelling and were halfway through a game of pass the parcel at the party with the help of volunteers Akhtar Kasia, Marian Laher and Barbara Clelow when Sharon took to the stage to reveal the surprise.

Jacky is a regular customer at our Dewsbury store with her daughter Nina, who has Down's Syndrome. She said: "We wondered why the game of pass the parcel had stopped halfway through! We're all absolutely flabbergasted, nobody can believe it's happened. It was total shock for all of us – Akhtar fell to his knees with the shock.

Everyone with the cheque
Everyone with the cheque

"It's an amazing donation and it means a lot to our group, as we're all volunteers – we haven't stopped talking about it since! We do all our own fundraising so to be given £6,000 to spend on the kids is just amazing.

"At the moment we've got nothing at all because the premises we were using have been taken over by somebody else. We're looking for a new base, so the timing of this grant is perfect."

The money will be spent on toys, including light-up fibre optic toys, bubble toys, and a pool table and computer games for the older children and adults. In time Jacky hopes to develop a sensory room.

Jacky said: "Asda have always helped us out with donations in the past and also allowing us in to store to do fundraising bag packs, and we've got a great rapport with everyone down there.

"Sharon is absolutely amazing and we work together really well. She's wonderful and does so much for so many people and so many community groups."

Sharon was joined at the event by general store manager Michael Sutton, area senior director Richard Gratton and our Morley store's community champion Jo Ryder.

Michael, Sharon and Jo
Michael, Sharon and Jo

Sharon said: "I put a box of chocolates in the Christmas cracker and put the cheque inside a Christmas card. When they opened the envelope and card everyone just started crying. It was just so emotional. The buzz afterwards was amazing – everyone was coming up to me and Michael to thank us.

"This money is going to make such a difference to the group. I've helped them organise various events since they started up two years ago and they're just a wonderful group of people."

Take a look at more photos from the Christmas party here:

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