After 12 years with no gifts lonely pensioner receives surprise from villagers
CRITICALLY vulnerable Wendy White had not received a Christmas present in over a decade — but was stunned to receive three sackfuls after a village came together.
The 80-year-old’s 13th Christmas alone turned out to be a lucky one thanks to volunteer Madeleine Beard, who was partnered to support her through Rotherham Council’s Heroes scheme.
The pair have formed a close bond — despite only meeting twice in person — and Madeleine was overwhelmed when she asked her neighbours if they wanted to buy Wendy a gift.
Madeleine said: “Wendy’s family live in Australia. She’s not left the house since March. She’s got nobody at all.
“I put a bit on the Brampton-en-le-Morthen Facebook group asking if anybody wanted to buy her a Christmas gift. The presents came rolling in. It was wonderful.”
Madeleine (56) dropped three bags of presents at the Treeton house of a shocked and emotional Wendy in time for Christmas Day.
“We were both crying,” added Madeleine. “She’s got COPD and struggles to talk and breathe at the same time. She was not expecting it at all.
“It meant everything to know she had presents to open. There are so many Wendys in this world, and she’s my Wendy.
“It’s heart breaking that there are these people with nobody but I was so chuffed with the village for pulling together.”
Madeleine’s neighbours also recorded festive video messages, which Wendy watched on her iPad on the big day.
“We even recorded some ‘talking’ animals as she used to keep cows and we live across the road from a dairy farm,” added Madeleine.
And the kind-hearted volunteer delivered Wendy her first Christmas dinner in 13 years.
Madeleine added: “It all started with two or three phone calls a week back in March and as soon as we were allowed I went for a cup of tea in around June.”
Wendy, who is diabetic, said it had been the best Christmas she had ever had — adding: “Overwhelmed is not the word. I still haven’t got over it.
“Christmas Day to me has always been an ordinary day and then the council arranged for Madeleine to ring me once a week to make sure I’m all right, and for a shopper, Alison, too.
“Without these two, it would be one hell of a struggle.”
Instead of doing housework, this year Wendy said her Christmas Day had been spent opening presents from 8.30am to 2pm.
“By the time I had finished, my hands were cold as I’d forgot to put the heating on!”
The grandmother-of-two said she could not thank Brampton residents enough for the gifts, which included toiletries, bed socks and slippers.
“I’m overwhelmed at the kindness to someone they don’t know,” said the former van driver.
“I shall never be able to thank Madeleine enough. She’s been a lifeline over the phone to me and so has Alison.
“I have had my down days, we all have, but it’s just somebody to talk to. I look forward to the phone ringing and hope to God it’s Madeleine.
“This is a friendship for life now.”
Wendy, who does not know anyone in Treeton, added: “This was my 13th Christmas alone — supposed to be unlucky for some and then all this happened!”
Watch the video here.