Weston mum nominated for influential women award
PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 March 2018
A Weston-super-Mare woman has been nominated for a prestigious award for her work providing thousands of children with Christmas presents.
Sara Slee, aged 34, has been nominated for the 100 Most Influential Women In The West People’s Choice award for creating and leading the Every Child Needs Christmas campaign.
The initiative, which she set up in 2013, encourages people to donate presents for underprivileged children.
It has grown from handing out 750 presents in 2013 to more than 10,000 last Christmas, thanks to her work and help from volunteers.
Sara launched the campaign after planning her own children’s Christmas list and realising how many youngsters in Weston and North Somerset go without a gift during the festive season. The scheme has also been extended to parts of Bristol.
More than £115,000 worth of gifts have been handed out to more than 22,000 happy children across the area.
She was put forward for the award by a close friend who felt she needed to be recognised for her work.
Fiancé Khurm Ashad is ‘immensely proud’ of his partner, who he said was ‘embarrassed’ to be nominated for the award.
He added: “This is important recognition for the time and effort she puts in and she is the catalyst for the campaign.
“We realise it isn’t just her but she spends all evening on the phone setting up and organising the gifts as well as running a house and caring for four of her own children.”
Sara felt ‘mortified’ when she first found out she had been nominated.
She added: “I am so humbled someone felt I am deserving of it and I am overwhelmed to have even been shortlisted.
“It makes me extremely proud to see how far the campaign has come in since 2013 and it shows there is a need. It is the one time of year when everybody gets together to do something nice for people on their doorstep.
“It is a bit different when you have built people’s trust over the five years and we are now being contacted by people who have seen the nomination and want to help this year.
“Normally I don’t set myself a target but we are thinking of aiming for 15,000 gifts this year.”
The awards ceremony will be held on April 12.