Published: December 23, 2021 | Updated: December 24, 2021

Transport firm praised for helping send 18,000 shoeboxes packed with gifts to Eastern Europe

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Valuable logistics support from a Bournemouth-based transport firm helped the Rotary Wessex Shoebox Scheme for the second year running.

Shears Bros (Transport) Ltd’s new transport facility on Bournemouth Airport’s Aviation Business Park enabled it to assist the Rotary Club initiative.

First started in 1994, the annual Shoebox Scheme aims to provide children and families in eastern Europe with Christmas gifts.

The items are donated by schools and organisations across the UK with more than 25,000 shoeboxes sent each year.

In October, countless cars filled with gifts and essential items arrived at the Bournemouth transport hub.

More than 18,000 shoeboxes were placed in storage on behalf of Rotary Wessex.

The items were sorted and prepared for their onward journey to Eastern Europe.

Thanks to the new facility, shoeboxes could be sorted into different sections relating to a different location, including Romania, Montenegro, Moldova and Albania.

They were then loaded onto pallets by the Rotary Wessex and Shears team and prepared for departure.

In late November, EU vehicles from the respective destinations collected the pallets, having made earlier deliveries in the UK.

Mark Houghton, pictured right, the new General Manager at Shears, a wholly owned subsidiary of logistics giant Pall-Ex Group, said: “The Rotary Club’s Shoebox Scheme is a very worthy cause, helping children and families in less advantaged parts of the world enjoy a better Christmas.

“With over 18,000 shoeboxes, we were happy to provide the space and logistical expertise needed to ensure the scheme operates as efficiently as possible.

“I must say a special thank you to Shears’ employees Bob and Laura Kimber.

“This father and daughter team have dedicated many weekends to ensure the shoeboxes are ready to be sent out on time.

“They are a credit to the business.”

Geoff Philpot, a key figure in organising Rotary Wessex’s Shoebox Scheme who worked closely with Mark and the team, said: “Shears’ support of the scheme has been first class and it can be proud of its contribution to the cause.

“We have over 45 clubs in our district, all of whom work with their schools and local communities to collect thousands of shoeboxes full of Christmas presents donated by our children, as well as 36 cartons full of knitted and sewn clothes, toys and blankets.

“The gifts they receive will, in most cases, be the only Christmas present they receive so it is of vital importance we continue to carry out this work.”

Organisers say that this year’s scheme was more successful than ever.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s campaign which is expected to be even bigger.