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Garston church brings joy to Watford

 Published on: 20th December 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Uncategorized

Needy children across Watford will receive gifts this Christmas thanks to the continuing generosity of the members of a church in Garston who have maintained a tradition of donating toys every Christmas for over 50 years. The Annual Toy Service held at Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, December 16, was begun in the early 1960’s by the late Alf Kelly who was awarded the M.B.E. for his services to Watford residents. Alf became concerned about the number of children who were going without toys at Christmas as their parents were unable to afford them. He appealed to his fellow church-members for help and the Toy Service was established, a tradition that was maintained by his daughter, Pat Walton, after his death. For his efforts Alf was dubbed ‘Watford’s Father Christmas’ by the local paper. This year’s event was attended as by Baroness Thornhill for the last time as Mayor of Watford, who reminded her audience that for her the Christmas season always began with attending this service. She then went on to update them on the number of families in Watford who will be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation mainly as a result of eviction following non-payment of rent to private landlords. Surveying the hundreds of new toys spread across the front of the church Pat Walton thanked the members for their generosity and the youth of the church who packed gifts for teens, along with pampering packages provided by members for the mothers of the children receiving toys. In the audience she said were social workers waiting to take the toys off to their clients as were representatives of the Watford and Three Rivers Refugee Council and local Children’s Centres. After the service the display was quickly dismantled by the attending social workers and charity representatives who were delighted with the variety and quality of toys on offer for their clients. The remaining toys would be bundled up and distributed to other needy causes before Christmas. Photo Credit: Dan Sabatier

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