Young Kelsie King from Bishop Auckland has been raising money to help spread Christmas cheer among families across South West Durham.
The seven-year-old was worried that Santa would not be able to deliver presents this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, after hearing about the Christmas Eve jingle – an online movement where people across the globe would be ringing bells on their doorstep to help Santa find his way – Kelsie wanted to make sure that as many local children could take part as possible.
Kind-hearted Kelsie’s planning began earlier in the year, during the October half term holidays, when set up a stall to sell sweets and traybakes. Her efforts raised around £70 which she then used to buy as many Christmas bells as she could.
Working with Durham County Council’s One Point Service, which supports children, young people and their families, Kelsie asked if the bells could be included in the service’s ‘night before Christmas’ boxes.
The boxes were scheduled to be delivered to children supported by One Point in Spennymoor, Shildon and Chilton, and contained festive goodies such as a letter from Santa, a cake mix set, a book, socks, and Kelsie’s bells.
The boxes were an addition to the themed craft packs One Point has been delivering regularly since March to help parents and children do activities together, as family centres and other support have not been available in the same way during the pandemic.
With the Christmas bells, Kelsie hoped that children would be able to take part in the Christmas Eve jingle who otherwise might not have been able to join in.
In a letter she wrote about her fundraising, Kelsie said: “My mam saw something called ‘ring the bells’ on Facebook to help Santa fly his sleigh. I wanted to make sure every kid in town got one.
“I did a stall to get some money to buy bells and I sold cakes and lucky bags. I made £71 and I was able to buy 60 bells which was a lot.”
Susan King, Kelsie’s mother, said: “I think it is amazing what Kelsie has done, especially for someone her age who has been through a lot because of the pandemic. Even after everything that has happened this year she is still thinking of the other boys and girls and didn’t want anyone to miss out.”
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Christmas is a time for thinking of others and this year it has been especially important due to the difficulties many have faced as a result of the pandemic.
“Thanks to Kelsie’s kindness, generosity and outstanding fundraising efforts, lots of children have been able to take part in this festive activity with their families and spread some much-needed Christmas cheer.”
At 6pm on Christmas Eve, people across the globe stood on their doorstep to ring a bell for two minutes to spread Christmas cheer, creating a wave of bells ringing across the world through different time zones.