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 Generous residents donate to coat appeal


​The heart-warming generosity of Consett residents will provide winter coats for hundreds of disadvantaged children at schools across the area.

Last week, officers and staff at Consett Police Station put an appeal on social media for warm second-hand coats, hoping to distribute a dozen or so to local children who need them before the snowy weather arrives.
But organisers were taken aback when more than 300 coats were dropped off at the station within a matter of days, including top-of-the-range fashion gear bought from local shops and brought straight round to the station with the price tags still on.
Earlier today, pupils from Bishop Ian Ramsey CofE School, at Medomsley, popped into the station to help officers sort out the donations, which had been stored in a disused cell, and bag them up ready for distribution.
Over the next few days, the 31 bags will go to 14 local primary schools where staff have already identified boys and girls of all ages whose families cannot afford a new coat this winter.
The appeal was launched by PCSO Rachael Farrimond-Wight, from Consett Neighbourhood Policing Team, after she became aware of children in the area who were going without because their families could not afford a new, warm coat.
She said: “We were expecting to receive maybe a dozen donations, which would mean we could offer a bit of help, but the response has been phenomenal.
“The coats which have been brought in have been really good quality: trendy stuff which the kids really want to wear, which is important because we don’t want those children who receive to stand out from their friends.
“Last year, there were kids who would turn up to school in the ice and snow wearing just their jumpers – but this will make such a difference and we would like to thank everyone who made a donation.
Acting neighbourhood inspector Jamie Gray added: “The response from the people of Consett has been absolutely overwhelming.
“Two members of the team asked to do something to help the children keep warm this winter and of course we agreed.
“It was incredible - we posted the appeal on our Facebook page hoping to get some response and within minutes I was watching the shares and likes go through the roof”.
Alongside the coats for primary school children, officers received donations of clothes for babies, while local businesswoman Debbie Judd, from Debbie Judd HR Ltd, donated hats, scarves and gloves to top up the appeal.
She said: “I hope they get the benefit of the warm clothes, which are obviously very much needed, and I am just glad to have been able to help.”
The local branch of Tesco also donated packets of sweets as a thank you to anyone who dropped off a coat at the station.
Following yesterday’s visit to the cells to help out with the appeal, the visiting schoolchildren were given a tour of the station, had a look inside the cells and tried out the driver seat of a police van.
Teaching assistant Sarah Charlton: “The kids have had a fantastic time – it has been quite an experience for them to take part in something which is going to support the local community.
“It has been quite an exciting opportunity for them to help other children and meet the police”.