Christmas is not only a season of dread for the homeless, jobless and penniless in South Holland, the Deepings and Bourne.
The festive season can only also bring acute loneliness to people whose families are far away or those with no families at all.
But students and staff at Bourne Academy are changing that by holding their third annual Christmas Hamper Competition for Years 7 right through to 13 whose students design, create and deliver festive hampers, filled with food and gifts, to residents at the Butterfield Day Care Centre in Bourne.
School spokesman Joan Baker said: “All of our six House Teams, made up of nine tutor groups, compete against each other to make and decorate the best Christmas hamper.
“Each one of the 54 forms start with just a cardboard box and then decorate it with a Christmas theme before filling the boxes with a variety of food and gifts suitable for the older folk of Bourne.
“On Wednesday, December 16, students from each form bring their boxes into school to be judged before staff and sixth form students take the hampers to Butterfield Day Care Centre where they are distributed to the elderly residents.
It’s hard to believe that what starts out as plain cardboard boxes end up as decorated Christmas hampersLucy Conley, deputy headteacher, Bourne Academy
“Some of the hampers are also reserved for distribution on Christmas Day with the Bourne Meals on Wheels service.
The work done by House Teams in designing, providing and presenting Christmas hampers to residents at Butterfield earned students and staff this year’s Contribution to the Community prize at this year’s Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards.
The award was presented at a ceremony in Spalding by Sharon Macauley and managing partner Kevin Pallister of award sponsors Calthrops Solicitors of Holbeach and Spalding.
Deputy headteacher Lucy Conley said: “It’s hard to believe that what starts out as plain cardboard boxes end up as decorated hampers.
“The students work very hard within their tutor groups to produce and make such magnificent hampers before providing the contents for them.
“We are very proud to put a smile on the faces of Bourne’s elderly coommunity when they receive the hampers.”