A couple who have raised thousands for good causes are the recipients of a lifetime achievement award.

Phil and Karen Boulding of Secret Santa will pick up the John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award at the 1V Awards, which will take place in Blackburn on Saturday, February 17.

Phil is an ex Royal Navy radio operator and previous blue chip project manager, while Karen used to be a security company director. 

Secret Santa CIC was born at their home in Lower Darwen and has provided over a thousand sacks of toys and treats in each of the eight years it has operated. 

They work with businesses and groups to raise the funds to be able to do this, as well as running the Secret Santa shop in The Mall.

Secret Santa also supports older people’s lunch groups, and work with a number of local charities, including resident’s groups.

A further campaign, "Secret Sheikh", delivers hundreds of Eid gift bags during the Muslim festivals.

Phil said: “Both Karen and I are truly humbled in accepting, on behalf of the whole team, this amazing John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award. 

"We are exceptionally proud of what both Secret Santa and Secret Sheikh deliver across our Blackburn with Darwen communities and would really like to thank both One Voice Blackburn and Let’s Foster in selecting us against what must have been an incredible choice of other amazing groups and individuals in this borough.

“We wish them many years of continued success, tirelessly helping our local children and communities in Blackburn with Darwen.”

Chair of One Voice Blackburn, Abrar Hussain, added: “You can’t help but be utterly impressed with the work of Secret Santa. 

"They support some of the most vulnerable people in society in key times of the year.

"They have been consistently delivered to communities in all parts of Blackburn with Darwen.

"They have also grown their team to ensure that more and more young people are supported at Christmas and Eid.”

Let’s Foster are sponsoring the award.

Head of service for corporate parenting and permanence, Suzanne Kinder, added: “We are delighted that Let’s Foster is sponsoring the 1Voice Outstanding Achievement Award again this year. 

"We are really pleased for Phil and Karen, they do so much to help the local children of Blackburn with Darwen every year. 

"Their hard work is not just limited to Christmas, they have also handed out 1,000 Easter eggs at Easter and 300 gift bags with toys and gifts during Eid.

"It has been fantastic to see the growth of Secret Santa and the introduction of their shop in Blackburn town centre.”

The achievement award is named after John Roberts a local activist and councillor who died in 2017.