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Local schoolchildren help hurricane appeal

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St Pius X Catholic Preparatory School pupils and teachers with the 102 shoeboxes they have donated

Generosity shown by Preston youngsters to provide basic supplies for Caribbean children

Local schoolchildren are helping to provide vital school supplies to youngsters left without anything after Hurricane Irma devastated their Caribbean island.

Pupils from St Pius X Catholic Preparatory School, from Fulwood, are among those who have donated goods to the appeal to help children who lost their homes and schools when the island of Sint Maarten was heavily affected by September’s category five storm.

Twelve primary school pupils and their teachers hand delivered 102 shoeboxes to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for UCLan’s, the Students’ Union (SU) and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) appeal. UCLan is currently hosting around 700 AUC students and staff in Preston after the hurricane ripped through the area and caused widespread issues on island.

The appeal is ongoing and members of the public are being encouraged to fill shoeboxes with school supplies, toys and hygiene items for children aged between 5 and 8 or 9 and 12.

The University community, along with the people of Preston, have been amazing in offering help and support to those AUC students who have moved to Preston to continue their studies while the island of St Maarten is rebuilt.

The box and lid can be wrapped separately but it must not be sealed, as all boxes will be checked. The box must be marked for the relevant gender and age group and a letter or card for the recipient can be included.

The appeal will run until 15 January and the boxes can be dropped off at SU Opportunities Centre, in Fylde Road, (excluding 23 December to 3 January) and UCLan’s In The City shop, in St George’s Centre, (excluding 15 December to 8 January).

Michael Ahern, UCLan’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The University community, along with the people of Preston, have been amazing in offering help and support to those AUC students who have moved to Preston to continue their studies while the island of St Maarten is rebuilt.

“There is a big recovery job taking place back on the island but we feel this shoebox appeal is a way of allowing us here in Lancashire the chance to help provide vital supplies to children who really have been left with very little. The items we’re talking about are basic supplies such as pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, soap, toothbrushes, combs, sun hats, sunglasses and torches but unfortunately we can’t accept confectionery or food items.”

For further information please contact the SU on 01772 893000.

Rachel Atkinson | 19 December 2017