SECRET Santa has been presented with an award for their contributions to the borough.
The well known CIC, based in Blackburn Mall, were “blown away” when the Mayor visited to surprise the team with a Mayoral award for their “Outstanding contribution to Blackburn with Darwen”.
Managing director of Secret Santa, Phil Boulding said: “Wow! This isn’t about us.
“We accept this award on behalf of our 5,000 Facebook members and all of the local people and businesses across Blackburn with Darwen who have really taken our mission to their hearts and support us endlessly.”
Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Councillor Iftikhar Hussain said: “It is vitally important that we recognise the wonderful work our volunteers are doing across the borough, and especially during these difficult times when help is needed more than ever.
“Secret Santa’s efforts were exceptional over the Christmas period, helping so many families and children to have a better festive period, and it was an honour to present the Mayoral Award to them.”
Phil and his wife Karen Boulding, from Lower Darwen, would normally “resting” after their Christmas Santa Sack deliveries but this year, because of the third lockdown, they, along with their volunteers, are busy running their “Computers for kids 2021 appeal”.
The appeal invited local people and businesses to drop off an unused laptop or computer that Secret Santa will then clear down, refresh and give to a local disadvantaged child and so far, 65 children have been helped with devices.
Karen Boulding said: “It’s always exciting to receive and award, and we would do what we do, irrespective of the awards that occasionally come our way.
“We are just really blown away by the kindness of our local community.”
Since Christmas 2017, Secret Santa have delivered “red sacks of joy” to deprived children in the borough, with the company managing to put together around a 1,000 sacks this year to those most in need, despite struggles from the lockdown.
Councillor Maureen Bateson has been heavily involved with the company from their very first year.
Cllr Bateson said: “It’s more than well deserved for all the work they have done and I am sure there are so many families and children grateful for they have done in the borough.”