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Issue:-  09/10 December 2009


GIRLS named Tia will have the most money spent on them this Christmas, as mummy and daddy splash out a whopping £500 on their little princess, according to new research.  And the study shows that boys named Cody will be lucky enough to receive £450 of goodies from ‘Santa’.  But children named Ashton or Isobel are in for a glum day, as mum and dad will spend less than £30 on gifts.

The poll of 4,000 parents, conducted by parenting website, shows that girls called Lilly are the 2nd luckiest girls as they will receive £425 worth of presents on Christmas day.  Girls called Brooke will open goodies worth £293.33 and Lexi will get £267.50 worth of presents from ‘Father Christmas’.  And the 5th luckiest girl is little Libby, who will also receive a ton of gifts from her generous mum and dad.

Other lucky boys include Leon who will open presents worth £310, and Louis who will unwrap gifts worth £276.67.  Sam and Liam are also spoilt by their parents and can expect to receive over £250 worth of toys under the tree or at the end of the bed.  But the research also shows that some children across the UK won’t be as lucky as others, and are set to receive less extravagant gifts.

Girls named Maddison, Sofia, Lola and Isabella will all have less than £80 spent on them, as will boys called Isaac, Bailey and Harley.

Faye Mingo, spokeswoman for who conducted the research said:- “It’s surprising to think that a child’s name may influence how lucky they are at Christmas. But undoubtedly some parents will do whatever it takes to make sure that presents live up to their children’s expectations.  Long gone are the days where the Peters and Johns of the 1950s were given a satsuma in their stocking for Christmas. They were certainly happy enough as long as they had a day of celebrations with their family.  Back in the fifties children also didn’t have television adverts blaring at them at any given opportunity, but retailers know that one minute on the TV is enough to gain the attention of millions of kids – which means added pressure for parents who want to meet their child’s expectations on Christmas morning.  This year many children from all walks of life will be aware that tough economic times will impact on Christmas. Indeed, many younger children who still believe in Father Christmas are expecting even him to be feeling the pinch this year.  The magic of Christmas means more than adding up the value of Santa’s sack and many families are having to cut back this year, irrespective of their child’s name we urge parents not to feel guilty about this and certainly avoid any temptation to go into debt,"

On average, the research showed that boys receive a total of 8 gifts from mum and dad – with the most popular choices being books, DVDs, Lego and a bike.  Girls are likely to receive the same number, including hair and beauty accessories, DVDs, CDs and arts and craft sets.  The poll also shows the average spend for boys this Christmas will be £165.98, but little girls will be slightly worse off as their toys will cost their parents less at £152.19.

Faye Mingo continues:- “Today’s children are so lucky to have over £150 spent on them at Christmas – and I doubt a 5 year old could even understand the concept of how much money this really is.  Christmas is meant to be about spending time with the family, as well as giving and receiving - something children should learn to appreciate from an early age.”

And regardless of a child’s gender, most parents are completely agreed kids should not be bought mobile phones as presents until they are 11 years old.  Parents won’t be buying children under the age of 11 an IPod or MP3 player, and the majority think kids need to be 10 years old to receive a TV for their bedroom, and folk are agreed that games consoles aren’t suitable for kids younger than 9.


1. Tia - £500
2. Lilly - £425
3. Brooke - £293.33
4. Lexi - £267.50
5. Libby - £267.50
6. Darcy - £266.67
7. Poppy - £257.14
8. Skye - £250
9. Maisie - £237.50
10. Zara - £230


1. Cody - £450
2. Leon - £310
3. Louis - £276.67
4. Sam - £268.89
5. Liam - £252.89
6. Aaron - £252.08
7. Kai - £250
8. Rhys - £238.57
9. Elliot - £234.38
10. Kian - £232.86


1. Isobel - £30
2. Maddison - £55
3. Sofia - £63.33
4. Lola - £73.33
5. Isabella - £77.50
6. Kiera - £80
7. Connie - £80
8. Amelia - £91.80
9. Harriet - £92.50
10. Lacey - £95


1. Ashton - £10
2. Isaac - £74
3. Bailey - £77.78
4. Harley - £80
5. Theo - £85
6. Alexander - £97.14
7. Mason - £100
8. Leo - £101.43
9. Ellis - £103.33
10. Noah - £105


THE Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST) has launched a new red squirrel perceptions survey to monitor red squirrel population trends around the UK. It is the first time a national red squirrel survey of this nature has been undertaken and is backed by television presenter and gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

The Red Squirrel Perceptions Survey is a biannual survey that will measure people's experiences of red and grey squirrel population changes in their areas. It is similar in design to the Consumer Confidence Index, in that it tracks changes in perceptions over time to provide valuable management information. It is open to anyone who lives in a red squirrel area, and gives members of the public the opportunity to contribute their local knowledge to a meaningful national survey. A link to the survey can be found on RSST's website (

Monitoring is an essential part of wildlife conservation, and this survey will sit alongside existing, traditional project monitoring efforts around the UK. RSST is currently assisting the UK Red Squirrel Group (UKRSG) to agree and implement national red squirrel monitoring standards. Detailed, standardised and regular monitoring information is vital for conservationists to assess population changes and define priority areas.

Alan Titchmarsh, who is an Ambassador for RSST, said of the survey:- "Everyone involved in red squirrel conservation knows that volunteers and the local community are its backbone, so I am delighted that their observations are to be recorded. I would encourage anyone in a red squirrel area to take part - it only takes a couple of minutes to complete and its findings will be of great value."

Dr Craig Shuttleworth, RSST's National Operations Director, said:- "This is a wonderful opportunity for local people to help scientists better understand red and grey squirrel distributions. RSST's perceptions survey, and the project monitoring protocols being currently established by UKRSG, will together add up to a revolution in red squirrel reporting."

Dr Tony Mitchell-Jones of Natural England added:- "The perception survey is a widely used technique in both conservation and business. The data collated by RSST's survey will be a useful barometer of the general public's perceptions of red and grey squirrel numbers and will serve to underpin the new monitoring standards."

Merseyside poets shine in Adoption Week poetry event

ADOPTION Matters Northwest, has unveiled the Merseyside winners of its family themed poetry competition at a special VIP awards evening held a few weeks ago to mark National Adoption Week.

Emma Kearney, 16, was named as the winner of the under 18s competition with her touching poem, ‘I Need You’, and Alyson Hindle of Merseyside was named as the Over 18s winner with her poem ‘When Will It Be My Turn’. Both poems stood out of the 160 poems submitted to be named the winners for the region.

Highly commended poems for the Under 18s category, read on the night by drama students from Hammond School in Cheshire, included Emily Gambino with ‘Families and Adoption’ and Courtney Jade Needler with ‘The Way You…’ both from Prenton School in Hesketh.  Famous Wirral poet Gladys Mary Coles read the Highly Commended poems for the Over 18s category which included Carol Falaki of Greasby with ‘I am’, Lorraine Wood from Birkenhead with ‘Nature’s Way’, Patricia Hopley with ‘Meeting up Again’ and Mr Morrison from Bootle with ‘Still Vivid’. Their poems can all be found at when clicking on the ‘Poetry Competition’ link.

Guests at the event were also treated to a special appearance in the form of renowned Merseyside Poet Jim Bennett. Jim read the theme song from his stage musical ‘Dockland’ as a poem which displays how an adopted child takes on the history of his new family. Jim also chatted about his experiences as an adopted child, and also as an adoptive parent giving a very personal touch to the evening.

Jim Bennett comments:- “Poetry is a wonderfully expressive way to discuss important issues. Adoption is an issue I feel very strongly about and am glad that I could support this worthy event in this way.”

Merseyside poet Gladys Mary Coles comments:- “It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner in the Merseyside region for this even as all the entries were of such a high standard. Entries came from far and wide from a great variety of backgrounds and ages - from the Under 10s up to the over 70s! Both Emma and Alyson though captured a real emotional pull in their poems that draws in both the readers and the listeners. Their poems found a connection with the audience which made the event even more touching.”

Adoption Matters Northwest is a specialist voluntary adoption agency operating across the North West of England and North East Wales.

AMNW Chief Executive Norman Goodwin comments:- “There are many reasons why children in care can no longer live with their birth families and our aim as an organisation is to find new families for these children. Many spend year after year in care without a single enquiry from prospective adopters.  We hoped this competition would encourage more people to think about the issues around adoption and we’ve all been delighted by the huge responses we received from people across Merseyside. With so many children in care we need more people to become adopters and want to encourage as many people as possible to come forward now and call us to find out what it takes to become an adopter.

Our thanks to all our sponsors and supporters including UHY Hacker Young Chartered Accountants in Chester, Bank of America for hosting the event, the Hammond School students who read out the winning poems. Our special thanks also go to poets Jim Bennett, Gladys Mary Coles and W. Terry Fox for offering up their very valuable time to help promote this cause.”

All winning and selected highly commended poems are now published on the Adoption Matters Northwest website at along with Cheshire Poet Laureate W. Terry Fox’s specially commissioned poem for National Adoption Week called ‘Mending Nets’.

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