19-year-old Courtney Hughes delivers Christmas gifts to the residents at The Meadows for a sixth year.
A very special Christmas elf has spent another festive season capturing the hearts of residents at The Meadows, by spreading the festive cheer with her gift giving.
19-year-old Courtney Hughes has visited The Orders of St John Care Trust’s (OSJCT) The Meadows in Didcot, Oxfordshire, every Christmas for six years, playing Santa and delivering presents to the residents.
Courtney was 13 when she first hatched the idea in memory of her Great Grandmother. Initially, she used her own pocket money to fund the giving.
“My grandmother was in hospital, so we took Christmas day to her and her ward. And it wasn’t very nice to see – it looked like a normal day, not Christmas day, and it kind of grew from there,” Courtney said.
Today, gifts are donated, which Courtney spends the entire year collecting.
“It’s amazing. People are so generous this time of year, they really are. It’s such a busy time of year for people, they want to get things for their families, but actually it’s amazing how many things people give.”
In 2017, she had collected over 10,000 gifts to donate to 20 organisations around Oxfordshire, including local hospitals and other care homes.
“My house looks like Santa’s grotto – we have presents from floor to ceiling!”
Courtney says her goal for next year is to make this project UK wide.
“It’s going to keep going, it always will. It’s really lovely talking to them, because some of them don’t have family. It’s really nice to put a smile on their face at this time of year.”