Bridgwater shoppers showed great generosity

Angel Place Shopping Centre is thanking visitors to the centre for the generous contributions at its Christmas grotto, which has seen almost £2,000 of essential funds being donated to two charities.

Every weekend throughout December, families flocked to see Santa at the Bridgwater shopping centre, with every penny of the £2.50 entry fee for each child being distributed between Elliot’s Touch and Marie Curie. Angel Place was able to spread the festive cheer far and wide with the appeal, as well as helping to raise awareness for the causes.

Roger Smith, centre manager at Angel Place, said he is delighted that the town came together in full force to show its support for the beneficiaries. “The charity grotto has been running for many years and it’s always so popular with families but each year we are still floored by the kindness shown by members of the public.

“Thank you to everyone who donated, as the money is enabling Elliot’s Touch and Marie Curie to continue the great work they do,” said Roger. “It was a great way to end the year and we look forward to supporting many more amazing charitable organisations in 2019.”

Local news channel, ITV West Country picked up the story and paid a visit to the shopping centre to interview Donna and Paul Stevens, who set up Elliot’s Touch in memory of their 18-month-old son who sadly passed away from mitochondrial disease and childhood cardiomyopathy in 2016.

“We were very proud to again have had the chance to do the Santa’s grotto at Angel Place,” said Donna. “We met lots of lovely children and adults, we also had the chance of being filmed this year and we would like to say a special ‘thank you’ to those of you that let yourselves and your children be filmed.”

Paul added: “We are so grateful to Angel Place in helping us raise awareness and funds over this lovely holiday period. Thank you to everyone that came along and helped make this event happen.”

Gail Stewart, treasurer of the local group which raises funds for Marie Curie, is full of praise for Angel Place management and shoppers. She said: “We are grateful that Angel Place has given us this opportunity to fundraise, generously setting up the grotto with decorations and music and providing gifts and ‘I’ve seen Santa at Angel Place’ stickers for the children.

“We are delighted too that Santa was able to spare us the time in his busy schedule and we are happy to serve him again this year in our capacity as elves,” said Gail. “Marie Curie, a national charity offering support and nursing care for people with any terminal illness including cancer, spends the money raised in Bridgwater to fund care in our local area.

“We are a friendly group of volunteers who raise funds for Marie Curie in a variety of ways including street and supermarket collections and Bingo as well as Santa’s grotto,” added Gail. “We always have openings for new collectors and elves at Christmas so if anyone would like to join our team, please call us on 01278 456450.”

PIC CAP: Donna and Paul Stevens from Elliot’s Touch with Ben McGrail, Somerset correspondent for ITV West Country, left, at Angel Place Shopping Centre. Photo credit: Allana Corr.