A NORTH-EAST housing association brought some Christmas cheer to its oldest residents, after delivering gift vouchers worth nearly £4,500.

Each year, Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) presents every resident who is aged 90 and over on December 25 with gift vouchers for £40.

The vouchers are provided by the Almshouse Association, through a Christmas fund established in 1958 by the businessmen and philanthropist Major AE Allnatt.

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As the largest Almshouse charity in England, DAMHA is this year presented 112 vouchers to its residents across the North-East.

Among the residents to receive their vouchers this year were nine people living in DAMHA’s care home in Horden.

One of the residents, 99-year-old Mary Hall, said: “I don’t know what I will spend the vouchers on but it is really nice to receive them, especially at Christmas when there is so much to buy.”

Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of DAMHA, said: “It is a real pleasure to be able to give out the vouchers to people who have worked very hard all their lives and deserve some recognition for the contribution they have made to society.”

The Christmas fund was initially established to “provide Christmas faire for the poor inmates of almshouses in England”.

Major Allnatt, who donated the money to the Almshouse Association, insisted that the full name of each recipient was written on the gift and that the presentation of the gift should be made near to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Born in 1889 Major ‘Alfred’ Allnatt took over his father's supply business and developed it into Allnatt London Properties and other businesses before the Second World War.

Major Allnatt became extremely wealthy during the course of his business career and became a significant contributor to charitable causes. He died in 1969.