I had the privilege of a very happy childhood in a prosperous and loving home. 

My earliest memories are of Christmas. I remember the excitement of going to bed, the Christmas tree decorated with all of our crazy decorations that my mum still has. Tangled Christmas lights with multicoloured bulbs and a log fire in the living room.

My brother and I would go to bed safe and warm in the knowledge that there would be a huge pile of Christmas loot under the tree for us in the morning.

I always remember waking up early and I could feel a weight on the edge of the bed of a big stocking that Santa had put there full of chocolates, a mince pie, a tangerine, some Top Trump cards and an Famous Five book.

We were a get up and get those presents opened family. My parents had always invariably been up late wrapping the last of the presents and there was ALWAYS a huge haul under the tree.

Scalectrix, Hornby train sets, radio controlled cars, a guitar, Airfix models, jigsaws, books and I remember one year my first computer a Sinclair 48k and the game Asteroids.

But it didn’t end there. We’d be off to Nana’s where the extended family would do it all again and we’d get money in cards, chocolates and, the highlight for me every year, LEGO.

We’d stuff ourselves silly, play with our toys, watch Star Wars and reruns of Poirot and sleep in the car on the way home. The memory of the sensation of being half awake and carried to bed at Christmas is really present when I think about it.

I don’t know where any of these toys are now. Goodness knows how much money was spent. I don’t even really remember the specific gifts if I’m really honest. What do I remember was just how much my parents loved giving them to me.

My father would always have gone a little bit too far and have spent too much. My mum would shoot him that “you really shouldn’t have but I’m glad you did’ look when he gave us a drum kit we’d never master or something other preposterous fad we’d never quite fully commit to.

There are tens of thousands of kids out there who won’t have that this year. There are 24,000 children in West Yorkshire alone who won’t get a present at all this year. All the politics and economics aside the fact remains that we can do something about it. So we have.

It’s simple go to the Big Fat Secret Santa or satireaid.co.uk and you will find an Amazon wish list of presents to suit all budgets. Buy a gift to suit your budget and Amazon will send it directly to a charity that we are working with where, with the help of wonderful volunteers and social workers these gifts will make their way to children on Christmas morning.

The charities currently receiving gifts include:

Rochdale Council Staff’s Charity Giving Back Christmas Appeal


Mission Christmas – Radio Aire Cash for Kids Appeal 2017

Toys and Teens Appeal, Southend Borough Council

Reading Family Aid

The appeal is brought to you by the fine people at The Rochdale Herald, NewsThump, The Southend News Network, Tuckered, Angry People in Local Newspapers, BFNN and the completely bizarre Garlic Bread Memes.

Want to help? What do we need? We need retweets and shares, that’s what we need. If you could tweet to celebrities to share the link www.satireaid.co.uk every retweet buys dozens of gifts.

Thanks for your donations and Merry Christmas.



Quentin D Fortesqueue is a founding editor of The Rochdale Herald. Part time amateur narcissist and full time satirist Quentin is never happier than when playing his lute and drinking a full bodied Bordeaux. He rarely plays the lute and never gets to drink Bordeaux.