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07th Dec 2022

Heartbreaking letters to Santa on pub Christmas tree highlight cost of living crisis as children ask for ‘clean clothes’ and ‘anything’

Charlie Herbert

Cost of living

The Christmas wishes left staff ‘shaken’

The cost of living crisis has been laid bare at one pub in Northumberland after children wrote heartbreaking letters to Santa asking for “clean clothes” while another boy said he was used to getting “nothing”.

Landlords of The Percy Arms pub invited under-privileged kids to write their festive wishes on tags and hang them on their Christmas tree.

Generous customers could then pick a tag and make the child’s wish come true by buying them their present.

But in a devastating reminder of the struggles facing thousands of families this winter, it wasn’t new toys and video games that children asked for, with staff left “shaken” by some of the Christmas wishes they read.

One eight-year-old girl wrote: “Clean clothes, please. Mine are dirty. Size 8-9 years.”

Another tag, from a 15-year-old girl, said: “A present for my dad. He’s sad since my mum died and not in a good place.”

A note from a six-year-old girl said: “Something to make with mammy.”

Meanwhile one note written on behalf of a 17-year-old boy, asked for “anything, as he’s used to getting nothing.”

Staff at the pub say they were “blown away” by the humble festive wishes and hope the majority of the children will have their wishes made real.

The pub, in Chatton, Northumberland, is part of a community organisation Christmas For All, which has created a gift tag for each child, giving their age, gender and outlining their request.

Organiser Oliver Bennet said the children’s requests “had shaken each and every one of us to the core”.

He added: “You can read about hardship and food banks and poverty.

“But to see, written down in black and white, young children asking simply for some clean clothes for Christmas – well, that really hits you.

“And many of them – despite having so little themselves – put others’ happiness before their own.

“That’s the real spirit of Christmas isn’t it – and it’s heartbreaking that it’s taking children to remind us of that.”

The organisation is looking for gifts for around 2,000 children in south east Northumberland alone.

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