Centre rescues mental health charity from Christmas pudding crisis

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A shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds has come to the rescue of a local charity which has been lumbered with hundreds of Christmas puddings.

Mental health charity Workwise was invited by Papworth, with whom it merged in July, to host a stall at a nine-day Winter Wonderland event in Milton Keynes, which got underway on Saturday.

But a barrage of complaints from members of the public forced organisers to cancel the event - after less than 24 hours.

Workwise - which invested £1,500 in 500 festive puddings for the Winter Wonderland - is now in a race against time to shift the festive treats.

Valerie Beresford, senior manager at Workwise, said she was ‘devastated’ about the cancellation, adding that the charity had nothing to do with organising the ‘disastrous’ event.

She said: “We were sorry to hear about everybody’s issues but we were just devastated. We saw it as a wonderful opportunity to raise funds for Papworth Trust Workwise which was taken away from us overnight.”

In the charity’s hour of need, Mrs Beresford turned to Chrissy Harrod, centre manager of Bury’s Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre, for help.

Arrangements have now been made for the puddings to be sold from the shopping centre in Brentgovel Street, starting from tomorrow.

Mrs Beresford said: “Chrissy’s been supported of Workwise in the past. We’ve had stalls at the centre but she’s also been very supportive of the work Workwise does in the community.”

Mrs Harrod said: “Valerie contacted me explaining that they had lots of wonderful Christmas puddings to sell and that they urgently needed a venue after being let down by the Winter Wonderland and I am delighted that we at Cornhill Walk could come to the rescue and offer her space free of charge.

“I was really upset for the organisers after all the hard work that they had put in and we are really pleased to be working with the Papworth Trust Workwise volunteers as Cornhill Walk has always prided itself on helping all sorts of charities over the years.”

A range of ‘delicious’ puddings will be on sale at the centre until Sunday and, as well as the charity’s popular plum puddings, they include triple chocolate, sticky toffee and lemon and cinnamon sponges.

“I especially look forward to buying and sampling the triple chocolate Christmas pud,” said Mrs Harrod.

Workwise is asking anyone who is willing to help sell the puddings to get in touch. Contact Mrs Beresford or Mandy Turner by calling 01284 755261.

Any unsold puddings will be available for purchase from Cavern 4, in Whiting Street.