Schoolboy’s generous 250 gifts boost Batley's Present Appeal

published on 13 Dec 2023

Oscar at Batley Salvation Army
Oscar with Corps Officers Majors Paul and Carolyn Wilson

A kind-hearted schoolboy has donated 250 gifts to The Salvation Army’s Present Appeal which ensures vulnerable children have a parcel to open on Christmas morning. 

It is the second time Oscar, 11, from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, has brought festive joy to kids across the region after he donated 200 gifts to Batley Salvation Army last year. 

Using his pocket money to get started, Oscar collected toys, dolls, jigsaws, books and much more from friends and family as well as encouraging school friends to donate too. 

Dropping a car stuffed with gifts off at the church and charity in Bradford Road last week with his mum Emma and dad Dave, Oscar said: “I think it’s important to do this because there are kids out there who do not have anything to open on Christmas Day, so it’s good to give.” 

Oscar’s mum Emma Sheard, 43, said Oscar was inspired to spread Christmas joy to children last year.

Oscar and Emma Batley Salvation Army
Oscar with mum Emma

Emma said: “We chatted about keeping the joy of Christmas going for younger children and Oscar does that by collecting gifts. 

“Last year, I was shocked to read how many referrals The Salvation Army had for their appeal and with the cost of living things are not going to be any better this year for a lot of those families. 

“You can’t imagine the stress it must put on people. When you say to your kids ‘if you’re good Santa will come’, it’s heartbreaking to think that kids might think they haven’t got anything because they’ve been bad. 

“You just wish you could do more, but it feels nice to be able to do something. On Christmas morning last year we sat talking about the gifts and imagining the children opening presents. 

I think it’s important to do this because there are kids out there who do not have anything to open on Christmas Day, so it’s good to give

“We’re really proud of Oscar for the way he sympathises with others and how he has talked to his friends about it and encouraged them to donate. It’s nice that he is using his own Christmas memories and thinking ‘it’s a shame other kids don’t get that, how can we change that?’. 

Major Paul Wilson, who leads Batley Salvation Army with his wife Major Carolyn, said: “This will help immensely so we are truly thankful to Oscar for his kind donations. It means a lot that he is also talking to friends at school and raising awareness within the community. For someone so young to be thinking this way about how to help others, it means a lot.

“Our Christmas Present Appeal provides gifts to hundreds of children each year and it’s thanks to the generosity of members of the public like Oscar and his donors that we are able to meet the need.” 

Batley Salvation Army will sort and distribute the gifts to children and families in the area through their networks and via local groups and social services.

christmas lunch at a salvation army church, a mum in a christmas jumper is laughing as her two children, a boy and a girl, pull a christmas cracker. they are all wearing christmas jumpers and there is a christmas tree in the background.

Christmas Appeal

To someone who has nothing your gift can mean everything. Donate to our Christmas Appeal today and help bring hope to people in desperate need.