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Ripple Primary pupils give Christmas gift in aid of rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 19:00 18 December 2018

Ripple Primary pupils hand their donations to Stephen Westwood, Corps Officer with the Salvation Army in Barking. Picture: Ken Mears

Ripple Primary pupils hand their donations to Stephen Westwood, Corps Officer with the Salvation Army in Barking. Picture: Ken Mears

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Primary school pupils in Barking took part in a ‘reverse advent calendar’ to support rough sleepers.

This marked the school's third 'reverse advent calendar'. Picture: Ken MearsThis marked the school's third 'reverse advent calendar'. Picture: Ken Mears

Instead of enjoying a daily treat in the run-up to Christmas, youngsters from Ripple Primary School collected food tins, teddies, toiletries and socks for the homeless.

They hauled items to class for two weeks, handing over gift boxes stuffed with donations to charity on Tuesday.

Their generous gifts delighted Corps Officer Stephen Westwood, who accepted the boxes on behalf of the Salvation Army’s branch in Ripple Road, Barking.

Year 6 pupil Barirah Nawaz said she and her classmates hoped no-one was left out of the season of goodwill.

“People who are less fortunate, they wake up feeling sad that they don’t have as much as other people,” the 10-year-old said.

The school’s third annual reverse advent calendar, she added, would let them receive a present on Christmas Day.

Presents were not the only thing donated that day, added fellow student council member Hadia Subhani, 10, who singled out the efforts of Year 2 teacher Ms Saunders.

“Because she’s a Christian, she decided to fast during Ramadan with her Muslim colleagues,” she said.

“She got sponsored by all the teachers and parents. We raised £317.”

Jwrin Sasikaran, 10, explained how the idea was not only “fun”, but allowed the children to give away their old toys to those in need.

Describing their visit to the Salvation Army, 11-year-old Pranay Dohal said the gift-giving “felt really good”.

“There was a lot already under the Christmas tree,” he said, adding: “Homeless people are part of our community.”

Ameen Khan, nine, described himself as “kind of proud” to take part in the donation.

Looking ahead to the New Year, he said: “We can do more and give away more.”

Presented with two tubs of chocolates by way of thanks, the children agreed to donate the treats towards a charity raffle.

Describing himself as “proud” of his pupils, headteacher Roger Mitchell said: “We’re not a school from an affluent area and a lot of families don’t have a great deal, but you always find that the people who have got the least to give give the most.”

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