Let’s start the run up to Christmas with compassion

Many will recognise Anita Boniface as a financial journalist but she is also involved with the Prison Fellowship, a charity that gives hope to prisoners when they need it. We know of Crisis at Christmas, but for those in prison, Christmas can be a bad time too. I’m publishing this  article of Anita’s on the first day of advent, a time of awakening anticipation for what’s to come.

Perhaps Theresa’s story will move you as it moved me.

“Why would anyone want to buy Christmas presents for the kids of some crackhead?”

This was Theresa’s first thought on seeing an Angel Tree poster on the prison landing where she was serving time.

Three years before, as a result of her drug addiction and violent relationships, Theresa’s children had been removed from her care. Filled with guilt and shame, she spiralled deeper into addiction and self-harm, turning to crime to fund her habit. “I did everything I could to either forget or punish myself,” she told me.

No wonder her life of crime landed her in prison. That autumn, when Theresa spotted the Angel Tree poster, she couldn’t believe anyone would do something nice for her without wanting something in return. That there were people like you who would want to buy Christmas presents for her children.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to hear anything back,” Theresa explains. “So when I did receive a card saying that the presents had been sent to my children – not just random gifts but things I had suggested – a piece of my hardened heart began to crack.”

“Those gifts were the first my children had received from me in years. Not only did they soften my heart, but they also brought hope to my children.”

You see, through charity Prison Fellowship volunteers and supporters who gave out application forms in prison, there was a transformation in Theresa’s heart!

Each Angel Tree package costs just £20, including postage and packing. Last year, over 4,500 children were blessed with a gift from their parent in prison. And we’d love to see that number grow this year! From midday 1st December and throughout December we have a chance to do just that! Thanks to a group of generous philanthropists who will match every gift you make until our “pledge pot” is empty – meaning your donation is doubled for free!

In this special time of year, you can give a child with a parent in prison an incredible gift – a Christmas present from their mum or dad.

To help more children, donate online at prisonfellowship.org.uk/x2 from midday on 1st December.


The seed planted in Theresa’s heart in prison began a process of radical transformation in her life. Today, she is not only out of prison, but has also been clean for five years. On top of that, she has a steady job, and – most wonderfully – has regular contact with her children.

I want to encourage you today, that your investment in Angel Tree is never wasted – your gifts are planting seeds of love in the hearts of parents and children across England and Wales.

There are many more prisoners like Theresa – more families that are hurting this Christmastime. But, with your faithful support, we see the ripples of love growing, and generations impacted forever. Do please consider making a doubled-for-free gift today.

Prison Fellowship is a charity running programmes in support of prisoners and their families.

There are approximately 310,000 children impacted by parental imprisonment, often considered the hidden victims of crime.

To learn more about Prison Fellowship, visit http://www.Prisonfellowship.org.uk

To donate to the Angel Tree programme and have your gift doubled visit prisonfellowship.org.uk/x2.

You can watch Theresa’s story here:

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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