First Lady Melania Trump visits The Salvation Army

published on 4 Dec 2019


Today, The Salvation Army Clapton Corps hosted a visit from the First Lady of the United States of America, Melania Trump and the wife of the US Ambassador to the UK, Suzanne Johnson.

Mrs Trump and Mrs Johnson helped Salvation Army volunteers and children from the nearby Baden Powell school to wrap presents for The Salvation Army's Christmas Present Appeal. The children then performed a festive song that they had chosen and listened to carols performed by a Salvation Army band.  

The Salvation Army Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill greeted Mrs Trump and Mrs Johnson and talked about the work of The Salvation Army in Clapton.

Commissioner Anthony Cotterill said; “The visit was an opportunity to promote our Christmas Present Appeal where we ask people to buy an extra children’s gift this Christmas so we can donate it to a family in need. I am very grateful to Mrs Trump and Mrs Johnson who personally donated gifts to our appeal. 

“I was also proud to highlight Clapton Corps’ work with the local community. Majors Karl and Ruth Gray have run the Clapton Corps for 16 years and have worked hard to meet the needs of local people. From food parcels to after school clubs, their team work tirelessly to reach out to those who need us most.”

As well as donating presents, the school children made Christmas wreaths to learn about the real meaning of Christmas. 

The Salvation Army Present Appeal 

One of the biggest Christmas projects that The Salvation Army runs is the annual Present Appeal. The public are asked to buy one extra children’s gift and provide it unwrapped to their local Salvation Army centre where volunteers will wrap it and carefully match it to a local family in need. Not only does this appeal ensure that thousands of children are able to open Christmas presents but crucial connections are made to vulnerable families locally. The support the local corps can provide to that family can continue throughout the year. 

To find out more about The Salvation Army Present Appeal please go to:

About The Salvation Army UK

Thousands of families across the UK turn to The Salvation Army for help, especially at Christmas. Over 700 Salvation Army corps (churches) in the UK help the most vulnerable people in their area through a network of food banks and practical support such as debt advice, clubs for the elderly and isolated and emergency shelter for those forced to live sleep rough. 

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries, please contact the PR & Communications office: / 020 3657 7555

The Clapton Corps

Located in the heart of East London, where The Salvation Army was founded over 150 years ago, Clapton Corps is a busy church centre serving the whole community. The corps run numerous projects tailored for the needs of the diverse community they serve. Projects include supporting struggling families with food parcels, toddler groups and after school clubs to tackling isolation in older people with coffee mornings and knitting circles. 

The Clapton Corps is run by local Salvation Army leaders, Major Karl and Ruth Gray.  As well are overseeing multiple community projects, Karl and Ruth help run The Salvation Army's emergency vehicles in London which provides food and drink to the emergency services during large incidents. It's not unusual for Karl and Ruth to spend all night serving teas and doorstop sandwiches to hungry firefighters and then return to open up the centre for the day's first coffee morning. 

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. 


Christmas Present Appeal

Support the Christmas Present Appeal by finding your nearest Salvation Army and donating.

Campaigning and policy

Working with decision makers to ensure the views of vulnerable people are heard.


Help us be there to support the most vulnerable members of society.


Find out how you can contribute to your local community by volunteering with us.