Warwick-based charity to spread kindness in the community

Evelyn Smith.
Evelyn Smith.

A Warwick-based charity will be encouraging people to carry out acts of kindness tomorrow (Saturday).

Evelyn’s Gift was created in memory of seven-year-old Evelyn Smith, who died in 2013 after having a viral and bacterial infection of her upper respiratory tract.

The 'be happy' drawing by Evelyn.

The 'be happy' drawing by Evelyn.

The charity’s logo is taken from a quick sketch that Evelyn did for her mum Helen Smith, which had the words ‘be happy’.

In Evelyn’s memory, the charity holds ‘Be Happy Day’ on her birthday, which will be on Saturday (December 1).

This year, the charity has a variety of projects planned to spread kindness through the community.

Richard Eddy, mayor of Warwick, said: “By carrying out little acts of kindness, Evelyn’s Gift has made a big difference to Warwick’s residents and its communities and I am very proud to champion the cause as one of my mayor’s charities.

“As part of Be Happy Day on December 1, we’re holding a ‘Festive Fair’ in the Ballroom of The Court House in Warwick, with stalls featuring fabulously festive gifts and local fayre. There will be refreshments and cakes, plus Father Christmas will be there for the kids.

“Happiness is the greatest gift of all and we hope to engage the town in celebrating Be Happy Day to make it possible for Evelyn’s Gift to fund future acts of kindness.”

Evelyn’s Gift will also host a Christmas party for children supported by the Friendship Project, a local charity that matches children who are in need, for a variety of reasons, with volunteers for friendship and fun.

The Christmas party will take place at the Warwick Arms Hotel, a business that has been a continued supporter of Evelyn’s Gift. Christmas presents will be given to the children, many of which will be supplied by the charity In Kind Direct and this year it is working with the Disney Store to distribute lots of free toys.

Mayor Cllr Eddy will pay a visit to the party to hand out presents to the children and young people at the party.

Evelyn’s Gift will also supply 10 bags for rough sleepers, which will contain socks, blankets and toiletries. These bags will then be handed out by Rugby First Responders over the Winter period, whilst they are on duty responding to West Midlands Ambulance Service 999 calls.

Today (Friday), children at Coten End Primary School, St Mary Immaculate Catholic School and at Warwick Preparatory School will learn about the importance of kindness.

Sarah Sheepy, headteacher at Coten End Primary School, said: “We are once more delighted and privileged to be taking part in ‘Be Happy Day’, supporting the work of Evelyn’s Gift.

“The children are going to be collecting and donating tins of food which will be put into packs for young people leaving foster care at the age of 16. Evelyn’s Gift do a tremendous job of supporting all sorts of people in need and we are hoping to collect as many tins as possible.”

Hellen Dodsworth, headteacher at Warwick Preparatory School, said: “Children at Warwick Prep are really pleased to be supporting ‘Be Happy Day’ on December 1, in memory of Evelyn Smith.

“In our assemblies and lessons, we have talked about kindness being contagious and how we are able to do ‘little acts of kindness’ without spending any money; the children understand that being kind to one another is one of the most important things to do.”

Be Happy Day is being taken to Stratford with Leamington’s Sambassadors of Groove, who will be busking at Waterside on Saturday December 1 from around 1pm to 3pm, opposite the Encore.

Maggie Atkins from the group said: “We hope to see people there, dancing to the samba beat and putting lots of money into the collection for Evelyn’s Gift ‘Be Happy Day’.

On December 1, Evelyn’s mum, Helen Smith, will also be lighting candles in St Mary’s Church in Warwick, in memory of Evelyn and other children and young people that have died.

Helen said: “Without the support of our local community, we would not be able to carry out our work.

“Our daughter’s life has inspired many people to help us to bring some kindness to those in need.”