A KIND-hearted Mid Wales and Shropshire company has ensured that 50 children from struggling Newtown families will receive a gift this Christmas.

As Rees Astley Ltd, Independent Financial Advisers and Insurance Brokers, will be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2019, the company decided to donate a toy for each year it has been in business.

The donation was made to Newtown Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Appeal which is supporting local families who are struggling to buy gifts for their children this Christmas.

“So far this winter the Salvation Army in Newtown has received 160 referrals for children’s toys, so our 50 donations will go some way to meeting their target,” said Alun Hughes, a Rees Astley Ltd director. “We were very keen to support a charity that benefits local people.

“To celebrate the achievement of the significant milestone of 50 years in business serving Mid Wales and Shropshire, we intend to give something back to those communities by supporting selected local charities during 2019.”

Thanking Rees Astley, Colleen O’Brien, Newtown Salvation Army shop manager, said: “We were completely bowled over by their donation. When we get a generous donation like this, it’s almost as overwhelming for us as it is for the families that receive the toys.

“The families are struggling for different reasons. In addition to heart-wrenching stories, there are many examples of hardship. Often people can be working full-time, but their overheads don’t permit any luxuries in life.

“The toys that we provide take the pressure off parents and make a huge difference to the families.”

In addition to the toys, Newtown Salvation Army is collecting food for 80 hampers this Christmas. “Newtown people are unbelievably generous,” added Colleen. “There are people working tirelessly and thinking of others in need.”

Rees Astley Ltd, which employs 49 staff at offices in Newtown, Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, is planning a series of events during 2019 and will also be supporting local charities to thank the communities for their support over the past 50 years.

Rees Astley Ltd was established by Alun Rees and Peris Astley in Aberystwyth in 1969 and the Newtown office opened in Mostyn House, Market Street in 1972. The company acquired Pontesbury-based Clifford Challinor Ltd 10 years ago and later opened an office in Shrewsbury, which combined the former Oswestry branch.

With some of the toys are, from left, Nicola Wain, community development worker with the Salvation Army, Alun Hughes, director of Rees Astley, and Katie Sinclair, gap year student working with the Salvation Army. Picture: Phil Blagg (PB702-8)