Leeds inmates make gifts for Radio Aire’s Mission Christmas Appeal

DONATION: Prison officer Vicky Morrell  with Lauren Scarth of Radio Aire.
DONATION: Prison officer Vicky Morrell with Lauren Scarth of Radio Aire.
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Prisoners at HMP Leeds have made more than 300 Christmas stockings and filled them with sweets for Radio Aire’s Mission Christmas Appeal.

Armley inmates have also donated around £500 to the appeal, which aims to ensure every underprivileged child in Leeds has a present to open on Christmas Day.

Offenders working in the prison’s textile workshop were more than happy to get involved with the latest fundraising venture. Prison officer Vicky Morrell, 35, said prisoners have raised more than £7,000 for 11 good causes in the last four years. Their first fundraiser was in 2013 when prisoners backed an appeal to buy specialist medical equipment for long serving prison officer Phil Hayes when he fell ill with cancer.

They raised £500 for Mr Hayes, who sadly lost his cancer fight aged 65 later that year.

Ms Morrell said: “When it was announced that offenders had raised almost £500, whole prison wings erupted into applause and cheers.

“Inspired by the transformation, I founded the ‘A Little Something Back’ project. This Christmas, offenders, their families and staff have been fundraising to support Radio Aire’s Mission Christmas by donating chocolate and sweets from our visits hall tea bar. We are then utilising offenders in our textile workshop who have been working hard to make stockings which will be then filled with the treats to donate to the children. Alongside this, offenders who don’t receive family visits wanted to take part too so donation sheets have been distributed throughout the prison and cash donations have also been raised. At present the total is almost £500 and still counting which is a considerable amount to say offenders’ wages are between £9 to £14 per week maximum.”

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