Marketing Derby Bondholders, Smith Partnership, and Mercia Image Print joined forces to support fellow Bondholder and local children’s charity, Children First Derby with a Christmas card fundraising initiative.

Children from two local adjoining schools, Ridgeway Infant School, and Gayton Junior School, were invited to take part in Children First Derby’s Christmas card competition; tasked with designing a winning Christmas card that the charity could produce and sell in the lead up to Christmas, to help raise much needed funds.

Marketing Derby Bondholder, Mercia Image Print, regular supporters of the charity, were quick to support the initiative and kindly agreed to cover all the printing costs of the Christmas cards.

Mercia Image Print Ambassador, Amanda Strong said:

We are always keen to support Children First Derby and the amazing work they do in the local community. The charity works hard to make a difference to local vulnerable children and their families and we’re proud to get involved and help wherever possible.

Fellow Bondholders, Smith Partnership also supported the fundraising initiative, generously donating two £50 Amazon Gift voucher prizes for the winners of the design competition.

The two winning Christmas card designs, one from each school, were announced during an outside presentation in front of school children and staff from both schools, held at Ridgeway Infant school, on June 7th.

Supporters of the initiative, Amanda Strong and Claire Twells, attended the presentation to meet all the children and staff who had been involved in the design competition and to hand over the voucher prizes to the two winners.

Claire Twells, Partner at Smith Partnership said:

 It is important for Smith Partnership to support the local community. We know that many local charities have been impacted by the effects of the pandemic and we wanted to offer our support and help this fantastic fundraising initiative. It is great to be involved directly with local schools and it was lovely to see the children’s reactions at the presentation.

Also in attendance was Children First Derby Fundraising volunteer, Sandra Harrison, who came up with the Christmas card fundraising initiative and worked closely with the schools throughout, and Children First Derby CEO, Irshad Baqui, who led the proceedings.

Pictured from left to right: Claire Twells, Partner at Smith Partnership, Amanda Strong, Company Ambassador at Mercia Image Print, Sandra Harrison, Volunteer Fundraiser at Children First Derby and Irshad Baqui, Children First Derby CEO, alongside competition winners Sofia Smaili and Andrew Gadsby.

 Children First Derby CEO, Irshad Baqui said:

We would like to thank all the children who worked hard to create some outstanding designs, making it a difficult task to choose our winners. I would also like to thank everyone who has helped to support this fundraising initiative. It is a great example of teamwork within the local community, and we really appreciate everyone’s hard work and support.

The two winners of the Christmas card design competition, Sofia Smaili, aged 9 years, from Gayton Junior School and Andrew Gadsby, aged 5, from Ridgeway Infants School, were delighted that their designs will now be printed and made into Christmas cards. These will be sold by the charity in the run up to Christmas to help raise funds for Children First Derby.

A delightful bouquet of flowers was also presented to volunteer fundraiser, Sandra Harrison, to thank her for coming up with this wonderful initiative and for all her hard work shown throughout.

Children First Derby would also like to say a special thank you to Year Three Teacher at Gayton Junior School, Matt Dawson, and Ridgeway School Acting Deputy Headteacher, Heather Jeffery, for their tremendous support throughout, which has been very much appreciated.


Pictured from left to right: Year three Teacher, Matt Dawson, Children First Derby Volunteer Sandra Harrison, Acting Deputy Headteacher, Heather Jeffery and Children First Derby CEO, Irshad Baqui