Community gets together to replace stolen Christmas hampers

Highland Park Sewing Club Councillor Sharon Stewart pick the lucky winners of Christmas Hampers that were stolen last month but later replaced with help from community. Times photo Janine Hickmore

After the heart-breaking experience of the storage shed being broken into on November 8-10 with three Christmas Hampers raffle prizes stolen, the ladies at Highland Park Sewing Club are grateful to the community for their unstinted support.

The offenders who broke into the shed not only stole hampers with beautiful quilts and teddies handcrafted by the group of volunteers but had also defecated throughout the shed and destroyed the fabrics.

After the Times wrote about the plight of the volunteers who had spent months working on quilts for Middlemore Kidz First Children’s Hospital and teddies that are given to St Johns for children in ambulances and other charities, the readers were outraged.

Shocked and disgusted, they wanted to contribute in some way.

Within days, generous donors replaced the three stolen Christmas Hampers with 13!
Bev Telfer, coordinator of the group says, “With the guidance of Sharon Stewart our city councillor, the community combined to encourage us, to start again and with all the amazing donations received and offers of goods, we were able to provide 13 hamper as prizes.

“The group sold approximately 1600 raffle tickets and the draw was made on Thursday, December 3, by Councillor Stewart.

“We would like to specially thank Katrina Seymour and Michelle Codyre who organised the Beachlands, Maraetai and Whitford community, and together with NZ Merchants, Whittaker’s Chocolate and Barkers Geraldine provided us with four hampers,” she says.

“There were many individuals as well as organisations that made it possible including St John Ambulance, Nicks Fabrics, Countdown Highland Park and Dilmah Limited.”

Thank you for your support

Gretl Bass who started the Teddy Bear Group ‘Trauma Teddies’ for St John Ambulance says she is finally retiring from leading the group after 33 years.

After dedicated years of selfless service, she says she would like to thank the community for all their support over the years

The Teddy Bear group will now be led by Pat Pahl and Margaret Petty and the sewing group will be led by Bev Telfer. “They are all very capable and friendly ladies,” she says.

Ten years after Bass started the group, she read an article in the New Zealand Herald asking for clothes for babies at Kidz First in Middlemore Hospital.

“After reading this, Jill Fergusson and I started s sewing group. Ever since, both groups have grown and we have always had enough fabric, supplies and money to keep on going,” says Bass.

“We couldn’t have done it without the community’s help. I hope and pray that you will continue your support. “Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.”