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Angela surprises residents of fire-hit retirement complex with 'magical' Christmas party

December 02, 2019 05:11 PM

When our Crewe store's community champion Angela Leighton heard that elderly residents of a retirement complex devastated by fire were getting together for the first time in months to celebrate Christmas she pulled out all the stops to organise an extra special festive surprise for them.

Some of the residents of the Beechmere retirement village hadn't seen one another since being moved to emergency accommodation, so Angela wanted to make their Christmas party at the Hopes & Beams centre one to remember.

This Christmas the Asda Foundation is spreading festive magic by organising extra special surprises for groups like them to enjoy, so they provided funding for Angela to arrange food, decorations, gifts, games and appearances by Santa and the Crewe Male Voice Choir.

Angela, pictured right in the photo above, said: "It was so nice to see them all back together and enjoying themselves.

"It's been a really tough time for them. They lost everything. They literally only had the clothes they were wearing when the fire broke out.

"We managed to get an an Asda emergency grant at the time, which provided some clothing and essential supplies for the residents.

Hopes & Beams has been putting on Sunday lunches for those who were affected by the fire and some of them have been meeting there once a week – though the party was the first time they'd all come together since the fire.

Angelsa said: "When they decided to do a Christmas lunch, I applied for funding to the Asda Foundation who decided to do something a little bit special.

"It was such a wonderful day – absolutely fantastic. There was a big tree with decorations and food all supplied by Asda.

"Everyone had a brilliant time. The residents knew they were going to a Christmas party, but nothing like this. It really was simply magical. Santa came and we had the Crewe Male Voice Choir performing Christmas carols and everyone sang along and were clapping too. We had bingo and games as well."

Jane Whetnall MBE, co-founder of the Hopes & Beams Charity, could not thank Angela enough for her help.

She said: "What Asda did was wonderful – it brought happiness to people who have been going through very difficult times. The day was all about enjoyment with lots of TLC.

"We were going to have a Christmas party for the residents, but this was simply the icing on the cake. It was the nicest party, it really uplifted them. Some of the residents said to us that it was magical, and it most definitely was. It was beautiful.

"What Asda enabled us to do was make it extra special. We gave the residents baubles to put on the Christmas tree to make a wish and one to take back with them. I said it was a wonderful start to their new year!"