Former Viking skipper Terry O'Connor makes Christmas special for needy families

FORMER Widnes Vikings skipper Terry O’Connor gave needy families a Christmas they will never forget. The ex Great Britain and Ireland International completed the London Marathon in April and pledged to help needy people in his home town. He won £250 sponsorship from various Halton companies to help Widnes families most in need. Terry, aged 41, said: “We all know that there are some deprived areas in this country but do we ever actually stop and think about what’s going on in our own area? “Can people provide for their family this Christmas? The answer, unfortunately, is that some people won’t get anything at Christmas and that’s happening on our doorstep and it’s heartbreaking. “So I decided that when I ran the marathon, instead of going down a traditional charity fundraising route, I wanted to speak to some businesses in my home town to see if they would sponsor me for £250 so we can give it to families that aren’t in a fortunate position. “Christmas might not be what they want it to be through no fault of their own and hopefully this small gesture will help.” Local businesses DK Architects, Sammy Evans Demolition, D J Taylor contractors and the nursery run by Terry’s wife Jane, Daisy Maisies, pledged cash, while Stobarts Ports Managing Director Mark Edwards and Halton Council chief executive David Parr donated £250 out of their own pockets. Terry added: “These businesses and people have jumped at this initiative. They put up the money immediately. These people are very generous and care about the community which we live in. “You should be proud of where you’re from and these businesses are a credit to Halton.” Terry has been working closely with Andrew Buckley, head teacher at Ditton Primary, who liaised with other Heads in the town to identify families who most in need of help. Mr Buckley said: “Families whose children attend Ditton Primary School, St Bede’s Catholic Junior School, Simms Cross Primary School and St Michael’s Primary School have been selected. “Some of these families have a number of children and it’s difficult for them to provide with low income jobs. We know some of these families have had to use food banks and I know this money will make a huge difference for them this Christmas. “I’d like to thank Terry and the companies for their hard work and generosity on behalf of the families. It’s what community spirit is all about.”

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