Children are said to be the focus at Christmas. Carers have been in the forefront of many of us for the last few months. But what about carers who are children? They are scarcely noticed, and get little recognition or few thanks for the sterling work they do.
After some research, we discovered that there are just over fifty child carers in North Norfolk, attending both primary and secondary schools. Holt Youth Project supports them in all sorts of ways, but, as a group of churches, we decided we could offer them, a gift, some sort of sign of our gratitude for what they do. From a list of suggestions for Christmas presents, we decided to give each child a pair of pyjamas. Slightly wacky, but easy to advertise the appeal and collect the pyjamas, and the convenience of online buying was available.
The real question was would we reach the total of fifty, a pair of pyjamas for each child? The churches in Wickmere, Itteringham, Little Barningham and Aldborough have small congregations, so we were very hesitant that we’d achieve that figure. Happily, other congregations within the Aylsham and District Team Ministry joined in, and there was a welcome donation from the National Trust Embroidery Team in Oulton.
And yes! We did it! Indeed, we well exceeded that total for we ended up giving to the child carers 120 pairs of pyjamas! Yes, really: 120 pairs of pyjamas! A stunningly wonderful total. And all thanks to the generosity of local people.
Of course, it’s more than just 120 pairs of pyjamas. It’s offering people, whether church-goers or not, the opportunity to help others. It’s a determination to recognise and celebrate those who do such necessary and demanding work – but out of the limelight. It’s giving, and expecting nothing whatsoever in return. Many of the donors just left their pyjamas at the various collection points so we don’t know who gave the pink twinkly ones, or the Spiderman set, or the fluffy onesie. And the recipients, those fine children, haven’t a clue either!
Remember those child carers in your prayers today.
Paddy Seligman, PCC Secretary, St. Andrew’s, Wickmere,
The Reverend Tony Lynn, Interim Team Minister, Aylsham and District Team Ministry