Metropolitan Police (Met) Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe today, Wednesday 19 November launched the biggest charity event ever run by the Met to ensure that thousands of children in care across the capital receive a special Christmas present this year.
The Metâ€™s â€˜Christmas Tree Campaignâ€™ is spreading its cheer across London, with trees being lit up by officers outside police stations, and in other public places, in all of Londonâ€™s 32 boroughs to ensure more children in need than ever have a present delivered to them in time for Christmas Day.
Londoners are encouraged to get behind the campaign and give a gift by taking a tagged ribbon from a tree on your borough or at New Scotland Yard, and follow the instructions on the tag.
You can also visit the online virtual MPS Christmas tre www.met.police.uk/christmas-tree-appeal.
The expansion of the campaign builds on last yearâ€™s success, which resulted in hundreds of gifts given to children in the five boroughs of Lambeth, Westminster, Southwark, Camden and Hammersmith and Fulham.
The Commissioner got this yearâ€™s campaign underway at 17:15hrs today by switching on the Christmas tree lights outside New Scotland Yard with the help of special guest Harshita Ramanand, aged five – winner of the Metâ€™s Christmas Tree Campaign poster design competition.
Harshita, a pupil at Roxbourne Primary School in Harrow, was joined by her parents and head teacher at the event, which began with a performance by the Metropolitan Police Service Male Choir, who sang carols to a crowd including faith leaders, dignitaries, mayors and councilors from across London.
Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: â€œThis is a simple idea in the spirit of Christmas. A child in need can be helped by a simple gift from someone they have never met. That person gains no recognition other than knowing they have shown some care for a child that needs a little more love than most.”
The Commissioner was inspired to launch the appeal after seeing a similar concept in Sheffield 30 years ago when he was a PC on the beat.
The gifts will be for children aged from one week to 17 years and benefit those in care across all London boroughs.
The children are currently being cared for by foster parents or are in residential care homes.
The suggested spend for gifts this year is no more than Â£20.
All gifts will be delivered to the children at their care homes before Christmas Day.