A junior sea cadet is rallying round as he helps his unit towards an overseas trip.
Rhys Simpson ensured he spread festive cheer as he boosted the funds of South Shields Sea Cadets, which has launched an appeal to raise up to £15,000 to cover the cost of the educational visit to Malta in August next year.
The 11-year-old Harton Academy student fronted a stall at Temple Park Leisure Centre selling raffle tickets for toys, collecting £60 for the fund in the run up to Christmas.
He went on to deliver gifts to residents of Cheviot Court Care Home in Horsley Hill and also made his own mince pies for all 70 people who live there, calling in on Christmas Eve to dish them out.
Acting petty officer Sophie Dawson, who is an instructor with the corp, said: “If dedication is something to admire in young people, then we should look to admire one cadet from our South Shields unit.
“Within our Junior Sea Cadet Syllabus we learn about our community and encourage our cadets to do something for theirs, little or large.
By giving presents and delivering them by hand on Christmas eve, Rhys has made those less fortunate feel joyful for such a small, yet kind gesture.Sophie Dawson
“Gardening projects during the summer, tidying war memorials or even just helping someone with their bags or opening a door, every little gesture counts.
“At Cheviot Court Care Home, some residents are less fortunate than others at this time of year.
“With no families or visitors to come and see them over the Christmas period, they may be forgotten about by most.
“But, Junior Sea Cadet Rhys of South Shields, along with a little help from his mum, has been making it his mission for most of his life to make sure that those without family at Christmas feel thought of and remembered.
“By giving presents and delivering them by hand on Christmas eve, Rhys has made those less fortunate feel joyful for such a small, yet kind gesture.
“This year Rhys has set the bar to a whole new level, by using his spare time during the Christmas holidays to hand make 70 sweet mince pies for each and every resident at the home, delivering them to all three floors of the building on Christmas Eve.
“With his Officer in Charge and instructors at South Shields Sea Cadets on hand to taste test the pies, everyone is applauding Rhys and his kind gift this Christmas.
“For Rhys, this is just a kind deed he continues to deliver every year, for others it’s an amazing gesture to those who aren’t as fortunate as some, and a brilliant way to represent what he is also learning with the Sea Cadets and spreading some Christmas joy.”
The visit to Malta will see the group experience the country’s culture and take a series of trips with the aim of boosting their qualifications.
The cadet group meets each Monday and Friday at its base in Wapping Street from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Anyone who would like to find out more can call in or make contact via its Facebook page.