The firms that saved Christmas

PUBLISHED: 14:04 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

PLAYING SANTA: Paul 
Landini, left, of Blue Donkey, and Jonathan James, of Budgens in Soham, with some of the donated gifts. Photo: HELEN  DRAKE

PLAYING SANTA: Paul Landini, left, of Blue Donkey, and Jonathan James, of Budgens in Soham, with some of the donated gifts. Photo: HELEN DRAKE

CHRISTMAS turkey with all the trimmings is guaranteed for 30 East Cambridgeshire families hit by the Farepak collapse, thanks to the generosity of two leading Soham businesses. Telemarketing company Blue Donkey and supermarket Budgens got together to anno

CHRISTMAS turkey with all the trimmings is guaranteed for 30 East Cambridgeshire families hit by the Farepak collapse, thanks to the generosity of two leading Soham businesses.

Telemarketing company Blue Donkey and supermarket Budgens got together to announce that Christmas dinner is on them.

The news has delighted the families, who had earlier contacted the Ely Standard to say they had lost more than £8,000 when the hamper and gift company went bust.

Susie Holt, a Farepak agent for 28 of the families, was close to tears when she heard the news.

"This is unbelievable," she said from her home in High Barns, Ely. "For a lot of the families that's going to be such a big relief. One of my customers told me she had no idea how she could afford a Christmas meal. These companies have been so generous."

Sureya Landini, managing director of Blue

Donkey, and her staff teamed up with Jonathan and Rebecca James, who own Budgens in Soham, to donate £300 to make sure the families have

traditional Christmas dinners.

They will be given £10 vouchers which can be redeemed for a turkey, frozen vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and a gateaux at Budgens in Soham.

Staff at Blue Donkey, who have been collecting gifts and cash donations at their High Street offices for the families since hearing about the Farepak collapse, have also agreed that instead of wrapping Secret Santa gifts for each other they will donate them to the children.

Sureya said: "We all worry about paying the ever-increasing cost of Christmas, how devastating must it be to find your savings have disappeared overnight?

"Buying Christmas dinner for these families is not a cure-all, but it will help and we hope it will taste all the better for knowing we care.

"Blue Donkey has had an amazing year. We have achieved many milestones; what better way to celebrate than to share.

"We would like to see more commercial business getting involved in the way Blue Donkey and Budgens have. No corporate boot camp or fun day could have produced the feelings of friendship and loyalty generated by the Farepak involvement. We urge more companies to try it. Yes, it costs money, but the rewards are infinitely greater."

Jonathan James said: "We just wanted to help. We were really touched, as was the whole country, by the Farepak collapse. If you cannot give at Christmas when can you give? This was a horrible thing to have happened to these families. We have got the products and we wanted to help out."

Farepak Food and Gifts, based in Swindon, went bust last month leaving families across the country millions of pounds out of pocket.

Families had saved throughout the year with the company for hampers or vouchers to spend in High Street shops for Christmas.

Some of the East Cambridgeshire investors lost as much as £750 and have little hope of getting their money back.

n Blue Donkey's gift collection for the families will close on Friday, December 8. Anyone wishing to help out should take items to the company's offices at 50 High Street, Soham.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ely Standard

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists