Family give 24,000 Christmas presents to needy kids in memory of amazing grandma

A family is giving away a staggering 24,000 presents to needy children this Christmas – inspired by a loving grandma.

Norah Wilkinson’s motto was “it’s nice to be nice” and 30 years ago she started spending £10 a year on gifts for kids who otherwise would go without.

Norah, of Sunderland, died five years ago aged 92, but the tradition has continued and now her grandchildren ask their children to do the same.

Granddaughter Tor Imrie-Bell, 35, said: “Norah’s saying is a very simple one. But its impact this year will be absolutely massive,”

This year Norah’s daughters Josie Lovstad, 59, Patricia Imrie, 64, Maria Butt, 51, and their brothers Michael, Pete, Paul and Kieran and their offspring have amassed gifts worth £250,000 which will be given to more than 5,000 families.

Kind donors, friends, and companies have joined in to give another £25,000 in cash and toys.

Scooters, craft sets, board games and toiletries are among the presents to be handed out discreetly to parents via a schools’ network.

Patricia’s daughter Tor, of Boldon, South Tyneside, said the response was “astounding”.

She and sister Sarah, a social media specialist, work together at their own marketing firm and have been joined by cousins, aunts and uncles who help in packing the sacks.

She said: “We are delighted by the generosity everyone has shown. There is a real sense of community.

“People are surprised there are children who would go without on Christmas morning.”