PUPILS from Milford Haven School have been learning the true meaning of Christmas by giving up their old toys so that other local children can enjoy them.

More than 40 shoeboxes, filled to the brim with toys and games, have been donated to Milford Haven-based charity PATCH (Pembrokeshire Action To Combat Hardship) as part of its Christmas Toy Appeal.

As part of their religious education studies, Year Seven students have been learning about the importance of caring for the community, and after hearing about the work PATCH does, decided to help out.

They brought their old toys into school, sorted them into age groups, and also wrote letters to the children who will be receiving the presents.

PATCH co-ordinator Tracy Olin said the students’ ‘expertise’ was very useful in deciding which toys the children would like, adding that she really valued their hard work.

“As adults, we should be doing it at any age, but for younger volunteers it’s not the usual, it’s exceptional,” she said.

“People say ‘look at the youth of today’ and I think ‘yes, look at them!’.”

Twelve-year-old Catryn-Nia Goffin, said it was nice knowing that children who otherwise wouldn’t have a gift will have one now, especially younger children. And all the students agreed they would be even more grateful what for what Father Christmas brings this year.

The children said their time with PATCH had inspired them to volunteer in the future. They were also impressed by Year 11 pupil Amy Picton, who has been helping PATCH for four years.

This year’s toy appeal has been the charity’s most successful to date, and the stacks of toys donated will help around 170 local families.

Also helping with the mammoth effort were Milford Haven Junior School, Tavernspite CP School, Greenhill School and Portfield School.