Acts of kindness to warm the heart

Christmas is the time for giving and showing acts of kindness, and there has been plenty of that going on in Exeter recently. Here’s just some examples of people thinking of others…

Santa’s little helpers at Mecca Exeter have been spreading some festive cheer this Christmas by donating gifts to a local charity.

Exeter-based Dream-A-way, which assists people with physical and learning difficulties, has received gifts donated by generous team members and loyal customers.

Alan Forshaw, club manager at Mecca Exeter said: “Christmas is all about sharing which is why we felt it was important to do our bit and help out a great local charity like Dream-A-Way which does so much to help the community.

“Our team members and customer shave been extremely generous and thanks to them we’ve been able to help those les fortunate and experience that warm festive feeling.”

Bags of knitted woollen hats have been donated to the emergency department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to help warm up hypothermic patients this winter.

They have been donated by The Exeter Forum – a social group for active retired people who meet regularly in Exeter.

Members have previously donated a large number of knitted Twiddlemuffs to help patients with dementia earlier in the year.

The latest donation of more than 30 hats will be used by the department over the winter period as the temperature drops. hats will be used to help patients brought in by ambulance who are in the early stages of hypothermia.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 35C and can quickly become life threatening.

For patients suffering from hypothermia a woollen hat can make a big difference to their chances of survival by helping to prevent further heat loss.

Peter Burden from The Exeter Forum said: “Although the Exeter Forum exists primarily to help its members stay active and alert in retirement through programmes of lectures and social activities, members are pleased to be able to give something back to the community when the opportunity arises, as it did on this occasion.”

A convoy of Santa’s on motorbikes have delivered toys to a children’s to children’s hospice.

Bikers, also dressed as Mrs Santa, elves and even a Christmas tree, meet at Exeter Services and then rode with their donations to youngsters with life-limiting illnesses at the Little Bridge South West Children’s Hospice in North Devon.

The motorbikers donated £5 each to take part, and came from all over Devon. The ride was organised by the Exeter-based Motorcycle Rides which is not affiliated to or part of any group, patch or other motorbike club or organisation.

Chief organiser Carla O’reilly said: “A big thanks to everyone who joined in, donated and got into the festive spirit.

“I was inspired to organise the first ride two years ago because I think it’s always great to do something good. The children’s hospice runs on limited funds and is something close to most people’s hearts.”

The bereaved parents of a much-loved son have written a charity cooking book.

Barbara and David Tilbury, from Exeter, kept a bedside vigil over 47-year-old Patrick for several days at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, but he sadly passed away on January 20.

Since then they have been trying to do what ever they can to raise fund for the Bolham Ward Trust Fund where Patrick was cared for.

Recently they organised for three convertible chairs to be donated to the ward so that families would not have to sit in hard plastic chairs overnight like they had to.

Their latest fundraising idea has been to create a charity cookbook containing recipes from friends, family and staff to help raise funds for the Bolham Trust Fund.

Barbara and David have recently taken delivery of 200 charity cookbooks. Proceeds from sales of the book will be used to purchase medical equipment for Bolham Ward.

Copies of the cookbook are available from Barbara Tilbury by emailing or calling 01392 432562.

Devon Freewheelers has been chosen as West Exe School’s charity to support.

Pupils and staff will be raising funds for the charity through a variety of different events.

Volunteers from the charity recently took some of its vehicles, including the blood bikes, to school to mark the official launch.

Devon Freewheelers fundraising coordinator Caroline Retter said: “The money they raise will be used to enable the volunteer riders to continue to provide an out of hours courier service to the NHS across Devon, and riding to save lives.”

The registered charity has a team of volunteer emergency vehicle drivers who provide a weekday out of hours service ferrying essential blood.

They also support the NHS by delivering samples, medication and donor breast milk to hospitals throughout Devon.

The vital service costs £150,000 a year, and yet despite dealing with an average of 16 calls a day, the charity has never received government or grant funding.

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