Gift vouchers worth over £3,500 have been presented to some of DAMHA’s oldest residents.
Every year, DAMHA presents each resident who is aged 90 and over on the 25th December with Marks and Spencer gift vouchers
The vouchers are provided by the Almshouse Association, through a Christmas fund established in 1958 by the businessmen and philanthropist Major A.E. Allnatt.
As the largest Almshouse charity in England, DAMHA is this year presenting 119 £30 vouchers to its residents living across the North East. The Almshouse Association gives £20 and DAMHA adds £10.
One of the residents receiving the vouchers recently was 91-year-old Annie Rawlings, of Glenside View, Pelton View. Mrs Rawlings has four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, who was born recently.
She said: “Getting the vouchers just before Christmas is very nice. I haven’t decided what I am going to buy yet but I know I will end up spending them on my grandchildren.”
Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of DAMHA, said: “In these current difficult financial times, it is nice to be able to give some of our oldest residents a small token of appreciation.
“We hope they spend the money on themselves but knowing residents like Mrs Rawlings, they are just as likely to spend it on their families and friends. But whatever they decide to do, we hope it brings them some Christmas cheer and that they enjoy the festive season.”
The Christmas fund was initially established to “provide Christmas faire for the poor inmates of almshouses in England”. Major Allnatt, who donated the money to the Almshouse Association, insisted that the full name of each recipient was written on the gift and that the presentation of the gift should be made near to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He felt this personal touch would give added pleasure.
Born in 1889 Major ‘Alfred’ Allnatt took over his father’s supply business and developed it into Allnatt London Properties and other businesses before World War Two, Major Allnatt became extremely wealthy during the course of his business career and became a significant contributor to charitable causes. He died in 1969.