Festival keeps on giving


More than $10,000 raised at the Tamahere Christmas Festival has been distributed to charities.

The annual festival at St Stephen’s Church Tamahere has continued its more than three decades worth of charitable giving with donations to True Colours Children’s Health Trust and Kids First Whanau Centre.

Both received $4400 raised from the sale of gifts and decorations at the Festival shop while $1300 raised by the associated tea rooms was donated to the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank.

Christmas giving still going: Donors and recipients met recently at the Kids First Whanau Centre, from left, Ruth Barrowclough, Bev Ballinger, Michelle Rae, Gail Blackwell, Karen Morrison-Hume (Anglican Action ceo), Manila Lautu and Val Nixon.

A delighted Kids First co-leader Manila Lautu said the funds would be used to help renovate the centre’s rundown, 1960s kitchen, and education and whanau rooms.

At True Colours, the funds would be used for its counselling service, said executive communications assistant Michelle Rae.

Ruth Barrowclough, manager of the Hamilton Foodbank, said the need for the emergency food service continued to grow and the number of food parcels it supplied was steadily rising. Recipients were both waged and beneficiaries, she said.

Representing the Festival volunteers, Val Nixon, Gail Blackwell and Bev Ballinger, met recently with the donation recipients to learn more about their work and see their facilities.

“We are pleased to be able to support such worthwhile groups,” said Gail Blackwell. “Everyone who purchased a gift or a decoration or had a cup of tea and a piece of Christmas cake during the Festival helped spread the spirit of Christmas just a bit further.”

Kids First is a residential programme for women and children that offers a place of safety, support and education.

True Colours provides support to children and their families in the times of grief of a chronic, life-limiting or life-threatening illness.

Two groups of St Stephen’s Christmas Festival volunteers continue the 33-year tradition of making the gifts and decorations sold at the popular festival, meeting once a week to craft the likes of table centres and wreaths, and decorations for the tree and around the house.

The latest donations bring the total distributed over the decades to more than $400,000.

  • Anyone interested in joining the artists, florists, crafters and those handy with needles, sewing machines, glue, paints, hammer and nails can contact Gail on 022 600 3345 or Val on 021 169 9576.
  • To make donations of craft resources, including Christmas decorations in good condition, contact Gail or Val as above or leave them at St Stephen’s Church, cnr Tamahere Dr and Airport Rd.

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