ONE of Oxfordshire’s most festive fundraisers is celebrating after a record-breaking year.

Courtney Hughes from Didcot started collecting presents for her ninth annual Secret Santa appeal in September, to give to vulnerable people over Christmas.

Her team of volunteers and family members helped her sort the presents from a range of drop-off donation points, then deliver them to local charities, hospitals, care homes, foodbanks, and homeless outreach projects.

Since 2012, more than 80,000 gifts have been donated, with an overall value of around half a million pounds.

However, Miss Hughes and her Secret Santa team had already spent the whole year collecting and delivering donations for those in need.

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During the first lockdown, 2,500 boxes of food were delivered to vulnerable people, 100 hampers were given to the homeless and 500 food hampers plus gifts were donated to the elderly in the community.

They even gave food to animal shelters.

In total, this year's appeal supported 13 local charities and organisations, including the Oxford Homeless project which received 100 hampers from Miss Hughes and her team.

The appeal has supported countless families by providing essentials and supported women in refuge in what has been a tough year for many.

Ronald McDonald House in Oxford received some much-needed equipment and NHS worker’s on the front line of the pandemic were not forgotten, and also received food and toiletries.

Food was given to Didcot Fire Station and Didcot Ambulance Station, to nurses and doctors on the wards at the JR and food was also donated to Didcot food bank.

More than 300 gifts were given to SOFEA Community Larder and Christmas dinner was served to two families.

Miss Hughes said she was grateful for the numerous donations this year which made the Secret Santa appeal possible.

She said: “2020 will go down in the history books of being one of sadness, crisis, and panic, but it will also remind us of how kind we can be when faced with adversity; how we came together and made a difference; how we love and, mostly, to celebrate and be thankful for what we have.”