Year 11 students from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy got into the festive spirit by delivering Christmas gifts to local elderly residents.
A yearly event, the Academy (part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust) would usually be inviting elderly residents to a Christmas lunch with carol singing and a raffle.
With covid restrictions in place, this annual event had to be cancelled for the second year running, with students choosing to deliver wrapped boxes of chocolates instead.
The event is organised each year by Miss Chloe Penman, Head of Year 11 and Mrs. Jane Oades, Year 11 Student Manager, helped by a host of admin staff who all get involved and take on a portion of the planning.
The academy's Year 11 students did their part by wrapping all the presents to be delivered.
Jane Oades said: “We started by delivering chickens provided by Crumps, the local butcher. Then after a few years we decided to invite people in to the main hall and we would sometimes have up to 120 elderly people who we had identified would enjoy coming in for a social event.
"They would have a Christmas meal with crackers and all the trimmings served to them by a group of Year 11 students. The band would play Christmas carols and there would lots of singing. We would do a raffle with donated prizes, so they used to go home with quite a lot."
On being asked about how the pandemic had affected the event, she added: “Obviously because of covid, last year we just delivered chocolates to everyone and that’s what we’re doing again this year which is a bit unfortunate but hopefully we still manage to spread a little Christmas cheer with the students visits."
Only a small group of students, wearing facemasks and carrying hand sanitiser, were chosen to carry out the doorstep deliveries.
Organisational staff asked tutors to nominate students who had worked really well throughout the year.
Lauren Preedy, one of the chosen students said :“I was asked by my tutor to take part and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun; I love helping people and giving at Christmas."
Another student who took part in the delivering, Parth Gandhi, said: “I’m going to enjoy giving presents out to everyone, it gives me a sense of enjoyment that I’m giving to people and hoping that everyone has a good Christmas because this year has been tough for everyone because of the coronavirus."
When asked about how the local community were reacting to the Christmas deliveries, Jane Oades added: “We got amazing feedback saying how lovely it was, how lovely the students were and how it’s just nice to be thought of at this time of year.”
One local recipient who lives across from the Academy has already been in touch saying: "A huge thank you for the chocolates. Also, what lovely polite students you have at the school, always smiling - a joy to see.”
Royal Wootton Bassett Academy is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy Trust.