Feb 3, 2023

Thanks to all who gave!

written by Liz O'Ryan


Dearest  Friends,

The Edinburgh gift collection has been running for thirty-seven years and I cannot recall a time when your contribution to the gift collection was needed more than it was this year.  The requests for gift were the highest it has been for many years.

It has been a difficult few years for all of us, due in part to the pandemic and the economy taking a turn for the worse.  When I asked for your help for the thirty seventh collection, I had no idea what your response would be. My friends you never fail to step up to the mark.  Your response for Christmas 2022 was to say the least amazing.

To simply, thank you to you all for what you do in helping me make sure that so many children and families have presents to open on Christmas morning seems so little.

I cannot thank you enough for what you do.  It is impossible to measure the difference that your kindness and generosity make.

I feel proud and privileged to be part of such a special group of people.

This year two hundred and fifty-nine children had presents to open. Every child where possible received a toy, an activity, a book, and something nice.  Over a thousand gifts were given out. The gifts were distributed through Christmas parties in the visits room organised through the visitor’s centre and family contact officers.  Gifts were also given out directly through the visitor’s centre and delivered to those unable to collect the gifts.

My thanks as always go to Shona and Patrizia and the other staff in the visitor’s centre for their help in making sure the gifts go to the correct families.  My thanks also go to David Abernethy the Governor of Edinburgh prison without whose support it would make doing the gift collection more difficult.

On a personal note, and something that every person that donates and helps with the Christmas gift collection can take credit for, I was put forward and was awarded with a Butler Commendation.  The Butler Trust is an organisation that recognises the very best services across the UK Prisons, Probations and Youth Justice services. My commendation was for the work I have been doing for the past twenty-two years with your help for the Edinburgh Prison Christmas gift collection.  I have been invited to St James Palace on the 27th of March to receive my commendation from the Princess Royal who is the Patron of the Butler Trust.

For me it is a great honour to be recognized at this level.

Thank you all once more for what you all do in supporting the Edinburgh Prison Christmas Gift Collection.

Best Wishes

Colin O’Flaherty : Prison Officer