THE heartrendingly bleak Christmas in store for some of Northumberland’s most vulnerable children has been laid bare by a country pub, which has stepped in to help them.

When The Percy Arms, at Chatton, was asked if it could help provide gifts for underprivileged children in the region, staff and bosses fully expected requests for toys.

But the humble and moving nature of some of the requests has stunned the entire community – which has now swung into action to help.

Percy Arms

Among the modest requests are, from a 15-year-old girl: A present for my dad. He’s sad since my mum died and not in a good place.

Another, from an eight-year-old girl, reads: Clean clothes, please. Mine are dirty.

And a request, written on behalf of a 17-year-old boy, simply asks for: Anything, as he’s used to getting nothing.

Dear Santa, Please May I Have...Anything
A staff member hanging the tags on the tree

The pub, part of The Inn Hospitality Group portfolio, has teamed up with Bedlington-based community organisation Christmas For All, which has created a gift tag for each child, giving their age, gender and outlining their request.

The tags have now been hung on a Christmas tree in the pub and customers are invited to choose one, fulfil the request and return the gifts to the pub, which will pass them to Christmas For All to be distributed to the children.

The organisation is looking for gifts for around 2000 children in south east Northumberland alone, some of whom have been referred to them by other organisations or local authorities and others who have been self-referred.

Oliver Bennet – co-founder, with Matt Daniel, of Inn Hospitality Group – said the children’s requests “had shaken each and every one of us to the core.                                                                       

“You can read about hardship and food banks and poverty,” he said, “but to see, written down in black and white, young children asking simply for some clean clothes for Christmas – well, that really hits you.

“And many of them – despite having so little themselves – put others’ happiness before their own.

“That’s the real spirit of Christmas isn’t it – and it’s heartbreaking that it’s taking children to remind us of that.”

The scheme is shortly to be rolled out to Inn Hospitality Group’s other venues, The Olde Ship Inn at Seahouses, The Anglers Arms, at Weldon Bridge and The Derwent Arms at Edmundbyers and Jemma Brown, founder of Christmas for All, said the organisation was “incredibly grateful for their support.

“This is going to be a hard winter financially for so many of us,” she said, “so we are touched beyond words at people’s kindness in offering to make Christmas just a little bit special for these children. Thank you.”

To donate directly to Christmas For All visit

Get Newcastle Magazine direct to your inbox.

* indicates required


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here