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SOME 120 families and individuals have had some extra Christmas cheer thanks to readers of the Bury Free Press and customers of the town’s Waitrose store.

Around 120 Christmas hampers are this week going out to people throughout West Suffolk as part of the Gatehouse Caring in West Suffolk Christmas hamper appeal.

Generous readers have been bringing in gifts of food, seasonal treats, small gifts and toiletries to be put into hampers for those in need.

Waitrose customers have also been filling the store’s festive trolley in support of our appeal.

Amanda Bloomfield, Gatehouse chief executive, said: “We are really grateful to the people of Bury St Edmunds and overwhelmed by their generosity which will make a good Christmas to those in need.”

The charity, which runs a recycling furniture store in Dettingen Way, is expecting to send out a total of 250 hampers this year.

One of the people receiving a hamper is Gemma Chopping, 34, from Kentford.

Gemma’s world collapsed when her mum Sherry became ill with cancer. Gemma, who suffers from anxiety and depression, had until then relied heavily on her mum but Sherry had to give up work when she became ill and the two found their lives turned upside down.

Gemma’s support worker suggested she turn to Gatehouse who helped her to refurbish her home, but aside from the practicality the charity’s volunteers are always there for a chat.

Sherry said: “I was supporting Gemma and when that money stopped dead it became a different world.”

Gemma is now doing a psychology degree with the Open University and added: “I didn’t know which way to turn. This place has done so much for me. What they do here is special. It’s the people that work here. It’s not everyday that you meet people like this.

“If Gatehouse hadn’t been been there I wouldn’t have all these lovely things for my home. I’m hoping people will read this who may be in the same position and know there is help.”