Palmy Christmas tree tops

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

Wish­ing Tree cham­pi­ons once more thanks to a last minute flurry of do­na­tions, Palmer­ston North Kmart’s Shona Pirie has praised the pre-Christmas gen­eros­ity of city folk.

The top Wish­ing Tree in the coun­try brought in 5158 gifts to help lo­cal fam­i­lies have a bet­ter Christmas.

While that fell well short of the am­bi­tious 7000 gift tar­get Pirie had in mind, the fi­nal fig­ure was only reached in the week be­fore Christmas.

A con­sid­er­able 2379 gifts, nearly half the to­tal, came in as the De­cem­ber 24 dead­line loomed. On De­cem­ber 20 the to­tal stood at just 2779.

‘‘A lot of do­na­tions came in on the last day. Peo­ple were gen­er­ous as usual, and the hos­pi­tal helped out quite a bit.’’

A fea­ture of the ap­peal was that the col­lec­tion, de­liv­ered to city fam­i­lies by the Sal­va­tion Army, in­cluded a num­ber of more ex­pen­sive gifts.

‘‘We got given some bikes; fam­ily din­ner sets; scoot­ers, and some of those large stuffed an­i­mal toys. It was cool. We’re very happy.’’

Pirie said they have set up com­mit­ments and sup­port for next De­cem­ber’s ap­peal.

The city’s 2015 ap­peal reached 4600 gifts, with the largest to­tal set in 2013 when it brought in 6649.

The lo­cal tree’s main com­pe­ti­tion came from Dunedin, which fin­ished in sec­ond place with 4996.

The na­tional to­tal was 42,386.

DAVID UN­WIN/FAIR­FAX NZ.

Tracey Monk, Shona Pirie, Liam Daw­son, Sean Pirie and Teina Epa­para launch­ing the 2016 Kmart Wish­ing Tree.

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