Courtney’s Santa 365 days a year

Courtney Hughes in Secret Santa guise now runs her charity all year round

Duvets, a washing up bowl and an ironing board are just a few of the everyday household items being collected by a Didcot charity for a desperate family moving into their “forever home”.

The town’s not-so-secret Santa Courtney Hughes has moved on from her original gift scheme and has now set her sights higher.

A mum with two children, aged eight and 16, moved out of an emergency refuge and into a two-bedroom house on Wednesday and Courtney has been helping to get all they need for their new home.

The 20-year-old originally set up Charity Secret Santa in 2012 to collect gifts for sick and vulnerable people at Christmas, but now operates the charity all year round.

She said: “I have been working closely with an emergency refuge these past few weeks and we are currently furnishing a house for a new family.

“It’s amazing when the community gets behind you and supports you, because this is what the charity is all about.”

The long list of items still being collected for the family includes cooking utensils, bedding and cleaning products.

Courtney, who also holds down a full-time job that sometimes means working nights, said she “hasn’t really stopped” since last year and was still delivering gifts throughout January.

Since switching to running the charity full time, Courtney has received dozens of requests from people in need.

She said: “Now that I’m trying to help all year round we may take a day or two to reply.

“I don’t want anyone to feel like I won’t offer help; even if I can’t physically get an item for them we can always point them in the right direction of who may be able to help and offer an ear if they need to chat about anything.”

Courtney was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2012, which can leave her feeling extremely tired, but receives help from her mum when she struggles to maintain the illness.

“She does so much for the charity and I’m so grateful for her help and all my volunteers,” she said.

To make a donation, contact Charity Secret Santa 365 via email at or Facebook at

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