Spirit of giving aids deserving families

13:25 27 December 2012

Carol Gilson presents a special Christmas hamper to Beverley Roberts and her daughters Alishia, 12, and Amerlia, seven, and son Dylan, 12.

Carol Gilson presents a special Christmas hamper to Beverley Roberts and her daughters Alishia, 12, and Amerlia, seven, and son Dylan, 12.

Archant

Generous gifts handed to those nominated by Herald readers. Philanthropist Carol Gilson pays for Tesco vouchers and gets a bit of extra help from Graham Symes towards hamper.

The spirit of giving was alive and well in Honiton when an East Devon family was presented with a generous Christmas gift.

Beverley Roberts, with her daughters Alishia and Amelia and son Dylan, from Lympstone, were presented with a luxury hamper by Carol Gilson, the founder of the Joe Gilson Mobility Scheme, at Honiton Baptist Church.

The Midweek Herald had invited readers to nominate a deserving family in need.

The mum-of-three, who nominated herself for the gift, takes care of her terminally ill daughter, Ameila, who attends Mill Water School in Honiton

Amelia suffers with Batten disease - a rare and fatal degenerative and neurological condition.

The family was also presented with a £50 Tesco voucher.

“I was chuffed - I couldn’t believe it when I found out. It is just magic,” says Beverley.

She added: “It means everything.”

The hamper, she said, would help take some of the stress out of Christmas, which she says is a hard time of year.

Carol, who paid for the hamper out of her own pocket with match-funding from a generous trader, added: “I know, when my husband was alive, he used to say ‘if you have a lot of money, keep a bit for yourself and give the rest away’.

“It has made my Christmas.”

She added: “You don’t realise how many people are in need. It is nice to give a little bit back.”

The Mayor of Honiton, Councillor David Foster, attended the presentation to meet Beverley and her family.

Mrs Gilson said a special thank you to Graham Symes, of Ringtons, whom she purchased the hamper from.

On hearing about her plans to give it to a deserving family or individual, he paid for half of the hamper.

Tesco gift vouchers worth £50 each were presented to Lisa Allen, Susan Barrett and Beverly Steer - all paid for by Mrs Gilson.

Lisa Allen praised the kindness of Mrs Gilson and said: “Your generous gift of a £50 Tesco voucher has changed our Christmas dramatically and has filled our hearts with joy to know in this day and age that compassion and kindness is still alive.”

Beverly Steer, of Beer, said: “I would like to thank Mrs Gilson and the Midweek Herald for the £50 Tesco voucher.

“I am going to give it to my wonderful parents, Sylvia and Ernie Steer.”

Susan Barrett said she was “thrilled” with her voucher, which was destined for her son Mark and young grandson.

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