In the wake of a series of November events all in support of Cranford Hospice, patron John Buck said he was simply in awe of what the community of Hawke's Bay had achieved.

"From the three of them (Holly Hospice Trail, Wildflower Sculpture and the wine auction) it would be around half-a-million dollars - there is a core community out there who do these things and they want nothing for it," he said.

"It is absolutely brilliant and it illustrates what a fantastic sort of person lives in Hawke's Bay."



Of course there was a great commercial spin-off for the region as well, with many hundreds of people arriving here to take part in the events which created a spring boost in the arenas of accommodation, food and transport.

Everyone was a winner - and all the volunteers and sponsors who supported the events did not take in a cent - all went to Cranford.

On a smaller scale, but no less significant, is the annual Christmas Cheer Appeal which kicked off today and runs until December 21.

For more than 30 years it has created food and gift parcels for those less fortunate out there in the community with about 3000 people finding a reason to smile at Christmas, and all thanks to the community around them.

It is a true spirit of giving, and through the years I have seen some remarkable acts of generosity.

Social and service groups, businesses, individuals, associations, schools ... so many people get in behind it through gathering up gifts and toys or donating money which is essential for the purchase of food for the 850 or so parcels.

There was the occasion where a mum brought her little 8-year-old lad in - he wanted to donate the money he and his brother had made selling strawberries at the gate.

It was only about $12 but the money didn't matter.

It was the desire ... to do something.

"So other kids have a neat Christmas too," he said.

And there are the people who knit and create toys, or go and buy sparkling gifts and drop them off.

And organise collections at their work or school or service club.

It is absolute feel-good stuff and you just walk away nodding with pride and satisfaction ... that there are a lot of good folk out there possessed with great festive and community spirit.