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‘O Come, All Ye Crateful': Porridge error boosts weekly’s Christmas appeal

A weekly newspaper received an unexpected boost to its Christmas food appeal after almost 20,000 boxes of porridge were delivered to its offices by mistake.

The Newbury Weekly News usually receives 1,900 boxes of the cereal from PepsiCo Ltd each year for its annual Over 80s’ Parcel Fund.

But this year 1,900 crates containing 10 boxes of porridge each were delivered to the paper – leaving it with 19,000 boxes of porridge to pass on.

And, to add to complications, the porridge was delivered to the NWN’s Faraday Road headquarters rather than a local Sainsbury’s, due to the paper taking on deliveries for the appeal this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The NWN's Jo Fulker surrounded by the surplus oats

The NWN’s Jo Fulker surrounded by the surplus oats

Fortunately, the appeal’s delivery partner Swift Logistics Group was able to distribute the huge surplus to foodbanks, community projects and local schools.

The original appeal, then known as the ‘Two Ts Fund’, was started by third NWN editor Frank Stillman in the late 1800s and delivered either a packet of tea or a tin of tobacco to elderly people in Newbury leading up to Christmas – depending on whether they were a lady or gentleman.

The PepsiCo link comes through his great-grandson James Stillman, who works for the company in Reading.

HTFP has approached the NWN for a comment.