“The Christmas Angel has come early,” a teacher told her pupils.
The teacher is in charge of Aljezur School’s special needs section, and the ‘Angel’ was charity fund-raiser Cath Baker, bringing gifts to light up those young faces.
Cath, from the west coast community of Vale da Telha, had, with friends Steve Scott and Brian Jutsum, organised a charity bar walk in September which raised a total of €2,305 for local children’s charities.
It was the second of these annual charity walks and the 2015 “fun pub crawl” resulted in Cath & Co handing over 29 wheelchairs and other equipment to Portimao Hospital.
This time the end result was reflected in donations closer to home with the Aljezur School and the local St Vincent de Paul Society being the grateful beneficiaries.
Cath described her visit to the special needs class with co-organiser Steve Scott and fellow charity walkers Faith Quinton and Cath’s daughter Emily—a former pupil at the school—as “tearful, emotional and at the same time joyful.”
Earlier Cath had presented the local St Vincent de Paul Society with an electric bed that will be used by local boy Nuno André Chirac Ribeiro who is suffering from a degenerative disease.
The Society also received eight blankets plus schoolbooks, pens, crayons etc., all to be distributed to needy children in the Aljezur area, plus €400 for another local child who had required urgent dental treatment, with his family struggling to pay.
The remainder of the funds raised on the walk went to the school in Aljezur.
Cath declared: “The school equipment is vital, as the school does not have the funds for these kinds of things.
“Before we bought anything we consulted with the special needs teachers to discuss exactly what we should do to make sure everything we donated would be useful and would have a positive impact on the children’s daily lives at the school.
“They gave it careful consideration before telling us exactly what they wanted and needed, so nothing we then bought was wasted or surplus to requirements.
“One of the items was a tricycle, for example, because some of the children cannot ride a normal two-wheel bicycle.
“Some of the equipment was from the UK, the rest bought in Portugal, and it consisted of educational, therapeutic and sensory toys all designed with special needs children in mind.
“The teachers assured us when they examined what we had donated that every single item of the toys and equipment will be of use and will be put to good use.
“The children were excited and overwhelmed, coming up and hugging myself, Steve, Faith and Emily and we were all pretty tearful, I don’t mind admitting.
“It was a humbling but magical experience”.
Cath added: “We must thank John Scott at Algarve Removals who once again transported the items for free from the UK.”