PRIMARY school pupils have spent the last school year collecting books and toys for Reading children and young people with profound and complex needs.

Children at St Martin’s Primary School, Caversham, collected four boxes of toys, games and books for Cressingham short breaks service and Pinecroft, a residential children’s home.

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The students ran a "Reverse Advent Calendar" which is based on the traditional Christmas Advent Calender but reversed so that a gift is given instead of received.

Before half term, on Friday, October 11, Shirley Ferguson and Sherwin Springer from Cressingham and Pinecroft, which are both run by Brighter Futures for Children, came to receive the donations of toys and books and explain how they would use the toys with the children they support.

Shirley said: “Thank you so much for the toys and books you collected for us.

"These will bring such joy to our young people.

"They will help with their communication skills, learning to interact with others as well as sensory and exploratory play.”

Sherwin added: “We were so warmly greeted at the school and it was a delight to be part of a special assembly and to learn about St Martin’s pupils’ achievements and their kindness and generosity.

"Thank you all on behalf of everyone at Brighter Futures for Children.”

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Deborah West, who organised the Reverse Advent Calendar said: “The children were so enthusiastic about this project, particularly as the donations were going to help children in Reading.

"In the end, we were really quite amazed at how much was donated by the families of St Martin’s School.”

Acting Head Teacher, Mrs Erika Kirwan, explaining how proud she was of her pupils’ initiative.

She explained: “This was such a meaningful experience for the children – they gave their gifts with such enthusiasm and they were delighted when Shirley and Sherwin came to visit in assembly to explain the difference that their generosity had made.”