A couple from Droylsden have raised thousands of pounds for charity after turning their home and garden into a Christmas wonderland.
Sue Farkas and her partner John Charlesworth originally decided to transform their back garden into a grotto simply for their grandchildren, but after putting so much hard work and love into creating the festive experience, they thought they would extend the invitation to children right across the local community.
And after a helping hand from family, friends and members of the public, the community heroes managed to welcome over 450 children to the event.
Each child lucky enough to visit the event was warmly welcomed by Mrs Claus, before being taken to the grotto to hear a stories from Father Christmas himself, getting the chance chat about the year that they’ve had, and finally receiving a small gift to take away with them.
The entire makeover – which took the couple three weeks to complete – saw lights, trees and characters all transform the exterior of their home and back garden into the winter wonderland.
Speaking to the Tameside Reporter ahead of the grotto opening earlier this month, Sue said: “We’ve put up lights around the trees, put up Christmas trees, reindeer and snowmen, everything really.
“It was just an empty garden before we started.
“There are [hundreds of] children booked in total [and] I’m just hoping they’re gobsmacked – we just wanted to make them smile.
“They’ve had a rough year and it’s been hard, so we just want to bring a bit of cheer.”
What’s more is that on top of spreading some much-needed seasonal cheer, Sue and John also decided that all of the money raised from the event would be donated to a charity of importance to them – children’s cancer research charity Kidscan – with the public also welcome to make additional contributions.
The pair chose to set up a GoFundMe page to accompany the funds raised throughout the event.
“It is close to our family because we’ve lost quite a few members of our family to cancer. It is a good cause and they really need all the money they can get this year,” Sue explained.
“They’ve lost so much money due to the pandemic over the last couple of months and it’s a good cause.”
Alison England – Community Fundraising Manager at Kidscan – has commended the couple for their fundraising efforts at such a crucial time, adding: “I saw a post on the Droylsden Facebook group as I live in Droylsden myself, and saw that John and Sue were going to do a Santa’s grotto all in aid of charity.
“I contacted them to ask whether they would consider raising money for Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research and they agreed. Having had family experiences of cancer they jumped at the chance to support our charity.
“I went along and had a chat with them about their plans and they explained that they will be giving each child a selection box and offering parents mince pies and mulled wine.”
“[so] I set about contacting local businesses for donations of these items.”
Alison continued: “Iceland, Quality Save, Spar, Tesco amongst others, all gave generously. Local people have also donated trees, decorations and lights.
“Sue and John have gone to great expense to decorate their entire house – front and back and turn it into something truly magical.
“They have ensured they are following all government guidelines and ensuring social distancing at all times.”
As a result of all the hard work gone into the event, Sue and John have managed to raise a whopping £2,612.54 and counting, with Alison adding that the money raised will go towards vital research into finding new and improved treatments for children with cancer.
Currently, children are receiving a watered-down version of adult chemotherapy, and even though 60% of children diagnosed with cancer survive, sadly 60-70% of those children go on to have life limiting, life-altering side effects including learning difficulties, mobility issues and infertility.
“We want to change this and with the help of people like John and Sue, we can do just that,” Alison concluded.
How brilliant is this?
If you would like to support Sue, John and Kidscan, you can donate via the GoFundMe page here.
New survey reveals one in six Brits would rather have a curry than a Christmas dinner
One in six Brits would apparently rather have a curry on Christmas Day in place of a traditional roast dinner, a new survey has revealed.
With December just a few days away now, it won’t be long before we all sit down to tuck into what is always one of the biggest and heartiest meals of the whole year – but, if the results of a new survey is anything to go by, for a good chunk of Brits, this year’s Christmas feast won’t be the typical roast turkey that tradition’s always called for.
Instead, one in six would rather stray off the beaten track and opt for an Indian instead.
After a shocking survey by Next revealed last year that more than 12 million Brits think Yorkshire puddings belong with your Christmas dinner, around 1,000 UK adults have been polled by instatprint this time around to discover what’s making it on the festive feasting plate in just a few weeks time.
And, as to be expected, some weird and wonderful food combinations feature on the list, with over a third of Brits apparently planning on having sausages instead of the usual Christmas meats, and chips and beans also seem to be on the menu for the fussier eaters among us too.
Chicken nuggets, eggs, caviar, goat’s cheese, haggis, and chimichurri were some of the other rogue choices given by some of the survey respondents.
Then, when it comes to the accompanying sides to the main event, 11% even revealed they plan on tucking into some macaroni cheese with their Christmas dinner this year, with another 11% sharing that mushy peas are a must on their plate too.
17% of Brits will be enjoying mustard, 13% will be squirting ketchup on their roast, and 7% will apparently be enjoying a dollop of mayonnaise too.
But while some clearly like to freestyle their Christmas dinner and pop whatever they fancy on the plate, others are apparently ditching the norm all together, as the survey has revealed that only half of Brits are set on having their traditional Christmas dinner this year.
As mentioned, almost one in six would much rather tuck into an Indian curry, but not only that, 6% of us would rather have a Chinese, 5% would enjoy Mexican, and another 5% would opt for tapas if it was an option too.
Alejandro Garnacho gives the same boots he scored his overhead kick with to a young Man United fan
As if Manchester United supporters weren’t already ridiculously enamoured with their exciting young starlet, Alejandro Garnacho made an incredible gesture to a young fan after gifting him a pair of the very same boots he scored his incredible overhead kick with this past weekend.
In case you somehow missed it on Sunday, Garnacho scored one of the great Premier League, perhaps one of the best we’ve ever seen full stop, after burying an unbelievably beautiful bicycle kick into the far corner during Man United’s 3-0 win over Everton.
The 19-year-old is already a firm favourite amongst United fans and is tipped to do big things in his career after impressing in the first couple of years of his senior career, but interactions with wide-eyed little fans like this prove exactly why he has become so loved so quickly.
Surprising the die-hard young fans, the Standley boys — simply known as Harry and George to thousands of followers across multiple social media channels run by their parents — Garnacho doesn’t just stop to say hello to the loyal little Reds, he gives George a pair of the exact Nike Mercurial boots he wore when he screamed home that unforgettable finish. As you can expect, it blows his tiny mind.
After telling the Argentine winger that his overhead kick was “the best goal [he’d] ever seen“, Garnacho then hands his smiley superfan an orange Nike box containing the boots through the window, to which he immediately replies that he “asked for these” for Christmas this year.
We were very much the same at your age, George — Christmas and birthdays were all about getting all the gear to convince our mates we were the next Rooney.
Revealing not only that they were the very same boots he was wearing when he leapt like a salmon for that now iconic overhead kick but that he had already signed his autograph on them, along with a personal message on the box it didn’t take long for the seven-year-old to start crying tears of joy at his out of the blue birthday present.
As mum continues to capture his reaction, George simply says, “I’m so happy”, before telling his footballing hero how much he loves him and calling him “the best in the world”. It is by no means the first time we’ve stumbled across the two very cute little kids.
This is also isn’t George and Garnacho’s first meeting either; far from it, as both he and his older brother Harry regularly wait outside Carrington and Old Trafford to meet their Man United idols — with the exciting youngster having been at the top of the list since he burst onto the scene.
Whilst the pair are also self-proclaimed Lisandro Martinez and Jadon Sancho superfans, over the past season or so in particular, Garnacho and George have developed a real bond and he has had the opportunity to meet the no.17 on a number of occasions.
We will never, EVER get tired of seeing little kids meeting their heroes — fair play to the young man for taking the time to make the little lad a day he’ll never forget. Happy birthday, George!
You can watch the highlights from the Red Devils’ away win against Everton down below. Any excuse to watch back that goal, to be honest.