This is the incredible sum St Mary's Academy's Christmas Gift Appeal has raised since 2001

St Mary’s Catholic Academy raised over £3,500 for charity over the festive period, bringing their total to over £60,000 in 21 years.

By Charlie Mulholland, Apprentice Journalist
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 4:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 4:22 pm
Students of St Mary's
Students of St Mary's

Starting just after 2000, St Mary's has helped provide food, toys and necessities to less fortunate people and families across the Blackpool area, as part of their Christmas Gift Appeal. Charities such as Caritas Care, Blackpool Coastal Housing, Christ the King SVP, Streetlife and the Bridge Project have all received aid from the school, in the form of tins of beans to teddy bears to sleeping bags and everything in between.

Carol Gregson, teacher and founder of the Christmas Gift Appeal, spoke of how the school spreads the donations out across the multiple charities. “I started this 21 years ago, and over the years, the charities have changed a bit, depending on where the greatest need is, she said. Carol continued: "A variety of different organisations contact me and say there is a need or I contact them and say can we help you this year? "It is part of our Catholic ethos to reach out to the most vulnerable and the students and parents are so generous every year"

This year's fundraiser saw the students come up with many ways to raise money including a sponsored silence, bake sales and wax stripping. Students could make donations, organise a fund-raiser or bring food or toiletries for hampers. The final total from this year's collection was a phenomenal £3,644, just under £400 shy of their record number of £4,067.43 in 2018.

Some of the gifts the students of St Mary's donated

Corey Foster, president of the Sixth Form Student Council, spoke proudly of the effort made by the school and believes that the school really can make a difference for those in need

“It makes such a difference to people. We pinpointed the ways we were going to fundraise, he said. "Each form came up with different ways, we raised about £50 through the wax stripping.