THE SPIRIT of the John Lewis TV ad is alive in Keighley as townsfolk rally round to support pensioners this Christmas!

Schools and community groups are making Christmas cards and knitted gifts for older people who face Christmas Day alone.

The Welcome Project, which is spearheading the campaign, hopes to provide neighbourly kindness to more than 100 seniors.

Children from Oxenhope Nursery, Haworth Primary School and Messy Church at Exley Head Methodist Church are hand-making Christmas cards.

Craft and Chat groups at Lees Methodist Church and Central Hall, along with other people in their own homes, are knitting scarves, gloves and hats to give at Christmas. Other people are donating biscuits and chocolates.

Volunteers will be wrapping the presents at the Parkside Social Club in Butt Lane, Haworth, at 6pm today.

Welcome Project founder, Shona Grange, said anyone who had seen the John Lewis advertisement would recognise how a gift from a child is something pretty special. The ad shows an elderly man living alone on the moon, who is seen through a telescope by a little girl, who reduces him to tears by sending him a present.

Shona said: “We have been given 107 names of people who, for various reasons, would really appreciate a gift and a card at Christmas to show somebody cares.

“My background is social work with older people, and I have visited quite a few at Christmas where there has been not a single card on the mantelpiece. More people live alone and either have no family or have family dispersed, and in this digital age, not everyone sends physical cards anymore.”

The Welcome Project runs a community cafe at the Keighley Shared Church Hall, which originally started as a project for over-50s to prepare soup from vegetables they had grown locally.

Shona added: “Why not enjoy a bowl of soup when you call? The food is made by our volunteers, who are helping each other out of poverty.

“We now have people of all ages coming because they are struggling financially for all sorts of reasons, or are in need of company. Some of the people attending are sleeping rough.”

Anyone wishing to nominate someone for a Christmas present should contact Shona or Geoff Grange on 01535 647675 or e-mail for more details.

Anyone wishing to donate a gift can hand them to the reception at Central Hall in Alice Street, Keighley, or call at the cafe any Tuesday or Thursday between 10am and 2pm.