FUNDRAISING NEWS: Abbey and Help the Aged link up in gift plan

Dominic Wood

Help the Aged is set to benefit from a post-Christmas windfall of unwanted bath salts, foot spas and reindeer-patterned jumpers by linking up with Abbey bank to recycle unwanted Christmas gifts.

Collection points were set up in 120 Abbey branches on 29 December and will remain open throughout January. The first unwanted gifts were being collected and sold in Help the Aged shops across the UK last week.

Abbey launched the appeal with a £10,000 donation, and 500 celebrities have been asked by the charity to send in and autograph their own unwanted gifts for auction. So far, it has received a pair of socks from TV presenter Chris Tarrant, a photo album from entertainer Des O'Connor and a cookbook from actress June Whitfield.

Abbey estimates that around £1bn is spent every year on festive presents destined to life in the cupboard under the stairs.

"Help the Aged is delighted that Abbey feels that our shops are a good place to make the most out of their donations," said Steve Wooldridge, head of the charity's trading department. "It is great news that two important names on UK high streets have joined forces to turn unwanted gifts into valuable charity funds."

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