ELDERLY residents will be sent Christmas food and gift boxes from pupils at a primary school.

Deborah Schofield, business officer at St Mary’s RC Primary School, Clayton-le-Moors, came up with the idea of creating 50 boxes after being inspired by the charity work of the St Mary’s GIFT Team.

Deborah wanted to work with them and all of the school community to collect items to make up these boxes, involving the children in collecting items and packing the boxes.

She said: “I think it’s important for youngsters to build respect with our elder generation. This project really helps the children to do that.”

The boxes will contain items such as sweets, tea and coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, puzzle books, cup-a-soups, mini Christmas puddings, word searches and a gift for an elderly gentleman or a lady.

They will also contain a handwritten letter from a child at St Mary’s telling them a bit about themselves and wishing them a Happy Christmas, and an addressed envelope so the pupils can get a letter back.

Headteacher Mr Michael Mashiter said: “It is hoped that this can be the start of a two-way relationship between school and the elderly. We are really concerned as a school that so many of these people will see nobody on Christmas Day and we want to bring some light and joy into their lives by reminding them that we care for them.

“As a Catholic school, we pride ourselves on looking after the welfare of others and this is a very important charity focus for us leading up to Christmas.”

Pupil Oliver said: “It is important to take part in this and help as you should treat people how you would want to be treated if you were in need.”

Evie said: “Elderly people may find it more difficult to get out over the festive period due to Covid-19.”

Head girl Molly said: “I feel sorry for the elderly people that cannot see friends and family and wants them to have something to open on Christmas Day.”

The school was recently praised for its efforts in creating an eco-classroom made entirely of eco-bricks which were collected by school families and local residents in Clayton.

Mr Mashiter added: “We visit residential homes regularly to perform singing and drama but have been unable to do this recently.

“We don’t want to lose touch with our new-found friends and think this would be an ideal way to keep the relationship going and let these people know they are still in our thoughts and are very special to us.”

The school is still accepting contributions of cup-a-soups, mini boxes of teabags, mini Christmas puddings, wordsearch books and other gifts.