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From ‘white van man’ to ‘Father Christmas’


The Ford \'Connect\' has joined the fleet 

Children in Distress has a small versatile fleet of ‘white vans’ used to support donor collections and stock deliveries between the Charity’s three thrift shops in Kirkbymoorside, Guisborough and Shildon. Throughout October and November, their volunteer drivers are often seen at the wheel, visiting collection points across the UK,  uplifting hundreds of beautifully wrapped Christmas boxes as part of the Charities volunteer led Christmas Shoebox ‘Love in a Box’ Appeal.

Roy Wheeler, Charity’s logistics guru has over the years, used his extensive network of contacts to secure exceptional valued pre-owned but well maintained vans for this small flexible fleet. Last month it was decided that the Charity’s fifteen-year-old Vauxhall van, after a decade in service had reached the end of the road and was beyond economic repair. Roy set to work and in no time secured an ideally sized low mileage, Ford Connect in superb conditions, which joined the fleet at the end of April.

Recently, a newly appointed trustee suggested, “we could save a shilling or two by not putting the Charity logo and shop details on the van as part of its commissioning”. However, as Roy makes clear  “these vans on the road are a very visual part of CID’s mobile advertising strategy, they might not be new but they are effective  and being bright and clean being driven a round, they attract a deal of attention and more often than not, result in offers of donations".

Roy is reluctant to acknowledge the major role he plays in overseeing the Shoebox Appeal and the logistics challenges faced by the Charity, but over the years he has minimised costs and saved the Charity many thousands of pounds, which otherwise would have been diverted from the children’s care services the charity delivers. In so many way, Roy is the Charity’s real Father Christmas    


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