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Generous shoppers at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness praised for supporting good causes

By Val Sweeney

The annual carolthon helped two good causes.
The annual carolthon helped two good causes.

THE generosity of thousands of shoppers at the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness helped to spread the festive spirit.

A range of events and stalls raised thousands of pounds for local good causes in the run-up to Christmas.

United Charities which sold Christmas cards from local charities such as Blythswood Care, Highland Hospice, Christian Aid and Marie Curie raised over £13,500 while the Inverness and North Kessock RNLI sold cards, diaries and calendars to raise over £6000 – £1000 more than in 2018.

The centre's Beauty and the Beast themed grotto proved a popular attraction among young visitors, raising over £11,000 for the Highland Hospice and a gift-wrapping service offered by the Salvation Army raised just short of £10,000 which allowed the charity to distribute 400 gift hampers to the local area.

Inverness Choral Society took along 80 members to the centre for its annual six-hour Carolthon and raised over £1500. The money was split between the society and Befrienders Highland which aims to improve the lives of people who are lonely and isolated.

Throughout December, 16 local primary schools and community groups spread festive cheer by performing carols on the Cairngorm Group Community Stage. They included pupils from Cauldeen Primary School who were delighted to raise £50 towards a trip to Eden Court Theatre.

Kirstin Gault, Eastgate’s digital and marketing executive, was also struck by the number of presents donated to the Giving Tree – organised by the Order of St John and now in its 70th year – for distribution via local charities to less fortunate youngsters throughout the Highlands and Islands.

“A staggering 2160 presents of all shapes and sizes were donated by the local community," she said.

"It’s especially heart-warming when you see youngsters spending their own pocket money on gifts.

"To see how thoughtful and kind-hearted members of the local community are, it definitely reinforces the fact that Christmas is the most magical time of the year.”

Centre manager Jackie Cuddy said: “I would like to thank all of our loyal shoppers for supporting the centre and the local charities.”

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