Hollyoaks heart-throb launches Norwich appeal

Former Hollyoaks star Gerard McCarthy, who played the role of Kris Fisher in the TV series, has launched The Mall Norwich's Christmas Giving Tree Appeal.

Shoppers are being encouraged to buy an extra gift as they do their shopping and leave it at The Mall for children who may not otherwise get a present.

The appeal will run for three weeks, ending on December 19.

Shoppers will be able to write their name on a Giving Tree gift tag of their choice and give their gift and tag to the Ask Me Point team where the present will be wrapped. The Ask Me Point is on the second floor of The Mall, opposite Phones 4 U.

The presents will be donated to the Umbrella Housing Association, a local charity which aids single parents in times of need, and Leeway Women's Aid, which provides support for victims of domestic abuse.

The Giving Tree appeal makes a great difference to these families, not only supporting them financially, but also showing them the thoughts of the wider community are with them at Christmas.

Gerard McCarthy, currently playing Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Theatre Royal, has been very enthusiastic in supporting the appeal.

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He said: 'It's that time of the year where you start buying presents, and my favourite thing about Christmas is buying presents for people. It's so easy to go into a place in Norwich and pick up something for a fiver or tenner. We'll be able to allow so many people to wake up to presents on Christmas morning who might not otherwise have been able to, and it's a great incentive. I'm very proud to be part of this appeal.' He urged people to get involved in the event and added: 'Sacrifice a coffee and buy a present. A cup of coffee or giving a child a lovely surprise; which would you rather? It's a scheme where if everyone does a little bit, it has a huge effect.'

Marketing manager at The Mall Vicky Haverson said: 'It's great to be able to support people who don't get very much at Christmas. Last year we had 300 presents and this year we hope to do better. The presents could be anything that would be good for children, from babies to teenagers. We've found that often it's the teenagers that get forgotten as many people buy things for little children, so it'll be good if shoppers could remember the teenage age group as well.'