Hartlepool led Christmas appeal that went viral with 174,000 gifts wins national retail industry award

Hartlepool’s Giving Tree has won a prestigious national award after distributing more than 174,000 gifts to children last Christmas.

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 4:45 am

Last year’s appeal, which saw presents flood into Middleton Grange shopping centre after going viral online, was named Christmas Campaign of the Year at the Sceptre Awards ceremony held in London.

The awards recognise the best practice and people in the shopping centre industry.

Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft and members of the shopping centre team attended the Royal Lancaster London Hotel to collect the award earlier this week.

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Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft with the award for Christmas Campaign of the Year for Hartlepool Giving Tree.

They beat competition from six other shopping centres across the UK to take home the prize.

The judges said they were blown away by the success of the virtual Giving Tree, adding: “The simplicity and effectiveness of the initiative is a testament to what a retail destination can achieve when it has a great idea.”

Mark Rycraft said: “We believed we were a strong candidate because it was such a fantastic campaign but did not know what the judges’ decision would be on the night.

"For the campaign to win such a prestigious industry leading award was amazing.

The team from Middleton Grange shopping centre on stage at the Sceptre awards.

"It would never have been possible without the team on site who dealt with thousands of deliveries that were arriving on a daily basis.”

He also expressed deep thanks to IT experts at In Studio who designed the Hartlepool Giving Tree website and had to adapt as the presents came flooding in.

Charity Cash For Kids North East also worked flat out to make sure the presents were delivered to children in time for Christmas.

Mark Rycraft with a small fraction of the Giving Tree gifts received last year.

Organisers are asking people to help make the wishes of over 1,500 children come true by donating online at https://www.hartlepoolgivingtree.co.uk or by visiting Middleton Grange and taking a tag from the physical giving tree and dropping off their present.

The drop-off point in the shopping centre is adjacent to Deichmann Shoes and River Island.

Middleton Grange’s owners Bewonder* also thanked Hartlepool Carers, Harbour Support Services, Mark Rycraft and his team for their involvement both last year and this.

The delivery address for presents donated online this year is: Hartlepool Giving Tree, Unit 2, Kingsway Interchange, Eleventh Avenue, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, NE11 0JY.

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