The True Spirit of Christmas

When visiting the Harrogate Christmas Market next month, which runs from the 16th to 19th November, be sure to visit stall C47 in the Craft & Gift Marquee. There you will meet a rather extraordinary woman named Kerry Gate. Kerry will be selling copies of a children’s book entitled A Christmas Journey. We know there are countless children’s books with a Christmas theme out there – but this one is quite unique.

Once upon a time

At Christmas, when Kerry and her sister Tanya were young, their father would tell them a special story he created for them. The story involves two little girls, Rudolph and a special journey to visit disadvantaged children. When Kerry’s father, Donald Hastings, was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 61, he desperately wanted the story to be made into a book as a keepsake for his granddaughters. Sadly, Kerry’s father passed away in 2014 before realising his dream, so Kerry turned his wish into reality. She contacted a graduate of the London Art College to illustrate the story, then had it printed and published in Yorkshire. But instead of just printing enough books for her family, Kerry had a lightbulb moment.

 A wonderful legacy

Rather than keeping this delightful story for family members, Kerry thought that marketing the book on a wider scale would not only be a wonderful way of celebrating her father’s life, it would be a perfect opportunity to raise money for cancer charities. Every bit of profit from book sales is donated, and in the first year Kerry raised nearly £14,000 for Cancer Research UK. Things then took an unexpected turn.

 A hurdle to climb

Before the birth of her daughter in 2015, Kerry’s 36-year-old husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer: sarcoma. He underwent surgery to remove the tumour but as there’s a chance the cancer will return, he needs regular scans. Understandably, Kerry took a year out to care for her daughter and husband.

 All systems go!

With renewed determination, Kerry recommenced selling A Christmas Journey last year, splitting 100% of the proceeds between Cancer Research UK and Sarcoma UK. We’re delighted that she’s chosen to take a stall at the 6th Harrogate Christmas Market. But the story doesn’t end here.

The Painting Paramedic

When Kerry was young, she and her father used to paint pictures on the back of rolls of wallpaper. As her dad was a paramedic attached to a local hospital, he gave his artwork to the children’s ward to display on the walls. Three of his pieces were kept and are lovingly displayed in the family home every Christmas. Kerry decided to have several of her father’s paintings printed onto cards, so that these could be sold alongside A Christmas Journey to raise funds for cancer charities. 

Through book and card sales, together with two fund-raising events, Kerry has raised an impressive £21,500 for cancer charities since A Christmas Journey was published in 2014. Despite grief and difficult times, Kerry continues to express the true spirit of Christmas. Let’s hope we can help take her fundraising efforts to the next level!

 

 

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