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When Callie, Maisie and Simon celebrated their fifth birthdays at a joint soft-play party in May, their parents decided to take a very different approach to presents.
With a guest list of more than 60 children, they decided to say ‘no gifts’ when sending out invitations to their two reception classes at the Bilingual Primary School in Hove Park.
Instead they suggested that if people wanted to give cash in lieu of a gift, then half would go to the children to spend as they wish and the other half would go to Chestnut Tree House.
The parents, who live in Hove and Portslade, wanted to teach the children about charity and those less fortunate than themselves.
Maisie’s mum, Erin Burns said: “We want to raise a daughter who is happy, kind and compassionate, and understands the importance of charitable giving. I suggested donating the money to Chestnut Tree House as it is a local charity and related to children. Since we came up with the idea, Maisie talked a lot about helping others and being kind, so it really is a win-win.
“I’ve known Callie and Simon’s mums since we were all pregnant, and this decision was an easy one to make. With over 60 children invited to their joint birthday party, there was no way we needed that many gifts, and we know that donating to a local charity like Chestnut Tree House will make a real difference to local children who have life-shortening conditions.”
In total, Callie, Maisie and Simon donated £200 to Chestnut Tree House, and Callie and Simon still had £50 each to spend as they wished. Maisie (pictured handing over the money in the charity’s Brighton shop) decided to donate her £50 back into the pot as she had already received so many gifts from family members.
Jo Smith, Community Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “Every donation we receive is important, but for people so young to really engage with what we do is incredible.
“Everyone at Chestnut Tree House would like to say a massive thank you to Callie, Maisie and Simon – this is such a generous act and the money will make a big difference.”