Modern Mrs Santa Claus saves a family’s Christmas

WH 191214 Jenny Attree has collected 100s of presents for family who lost everything in house fire. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141220-000732001
WH 191214 Jenny Attree has collected 100s of presents for family who lost everything in house fire. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141220-000732001
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WHAT started out as a small plea on Facebook to help a Shoreham family who lost their home to a blaze has attracted more than 100 donations from people right across Sussex.

Generous Jenny Attree, 49, from Durrington, said she was unable to walk through her living room as it was crammed with toys, clothes and other goodies for the young family, after starting the appeal out of the goodness of her heart.

“I’ve got a garage and a lounge full of stuff. People are coming in with boxes and bags. I’m now sorting through it all and separating it for mum, dad and toddler, so it’s not too overwhelming for them,” said the grandmother-of-four.

People from Shoreham and beyond have shown true community spirit after Libby Annels, 19, Jack Demario, 21, and their 23-month-old daughter, Arabella, lost their home in Church Green, Shoreham, to a kitchen fire caused by their tumble dryer, on December 11.

Jenny said: “We have got brand-new clothes, brand-new toys, kitchen appliances, a Christmas tree and decorations – all from beautiful people with beautiful hearts.”

Jenny said that although she is yet to meet the family and does not live in Shoreham, she could not sit back and watch their Christmas be ruined.

“I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the family. Every day I receive a thank-you from the mum, Libby.”

Businesses like Brighton and Worthing Minibus A&A have stepped forward.

The transport company will be donating a TV to the family and a local photographer has promised to swing by the family home and help them create new memories.

“At this time of year, when money is really tight, but people have gone out of their way – it’s just amazing.

“I was only hoping to get a couple of bits for them and now I’ve hardly slept in a week because people keep emailing me, there’s literally hundreds of them,” she said.

Jenny said that any duplicate items would go back into the community and donated to charities like The Salvation Army, Red Cross and Womens’ Refuge.

“I said to the family I would get them everything they’ve lost and more and I think that’s been accomplished,” said Jenny.

Residents have also offered Jenny transport to deliver the presents.