Kind-hearted police officers and staff clubbed together to provide a sweet treat for youngsters receiving care from a children’s hospice.
Staff from Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary handed over more than 350 gingerbread houses during a special presentation at The Nook – the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) base in Framingham Earl, just outside Norwich.
They will be distributed to families being supported by the charity, which cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.
Sergeant Donna Flannagan helped oversee the collection, which was organised by nine members of Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary’s Information Management United, based in Wymondham.
They set themselves a modest target but, thanks to the support of family and friends, managed to buy 366 boxes.
People either donated the gingerbread or made a cash donation which the team used to buy more supplies.
Donna said: “EACH is an amazing charity, based right here in the heart of our community.
“In terms of which cause we wanted to support, it was a unanimous choice and all the staff feel strongly and passionately about the incredible job it does.
“To then visit one of the hospices and present the gingerbread houses was amazing.
“It made all the hard work and effort worthwhile and we met Thomas, who was receiving care at The Nook.
“He tried on a police helmet and loved it when we switched on the blue lights of our car.”
The gingerbread houses are in the form of a kit, for children and families to enjoy assembling themselves.
“We’ve had great fun collecting them,” added Donna.
“Our office has become gingerbread house HQ!
“There were boxes everywhere and we used a whiteboard to tot up how many we had and count down to the presentation day.
“It was great fun and an amazing thing to be part of. Everyone got on board.
“Thanks to people’s generosity, we were able to buy far more boxes than we anticipated so it’s testament to everyone’s kindness.
“It was a real team effort. For example, our control centre has a non-uniform day once a month and everyone chips in £1. They did that for us and managed to contribute £75.
“We also had a donation from Lidl, Lakeland and Morrisons. The Marks and Spencer in Dereham allowed us to do a bucket collection and we received a cash donation from Tesco Dereham and a very generous donation of ten kits from an unknown lady from Thorpe Helping Hands Page.
Caroline Allen, EACH Senior Corporate Fundraiser in Norfolk, said: “It was lovely to meet the team, who have shown incredible kindness and support.
“I know our staff and families will have great fun with this gift.
“We’ve put labels on the boxes asking them to send in pictures so it will be lovely to see them assembling the houses and, of course, enjoying the gingerbread!”