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  1. ITV Report

Pride of Britain: Delivering Christmas presents to some society's most vulnerable children

We have been asking for your nominations for people in our region that go the extra mile to help others and raise money for charity.

Four individuals have been shortlisted for the chance to become the Midlands finalist for the Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year.

Christmas might still be a few months' away, Linda Sandar-Haynes is already hard at work preparing 50,000 presents.

They will be sent to some of the most vulnerable children in the Midlands.

It s something Linda's been doing for last 17 years - after she overcame a difficult period in her life.

I thought to myself one day that if my life turned around for the better then I would like to give back.

– Linda Sandhar-Haynes

She told ITV News Central: "You look, and you just think to yourself, am I ever going to see that light?

"Am I ever going to see the light at the end of the tunnel that everybody goes on about?

"I thought to myself one day that if my life turned around for the better then I would like to give back, knowing what kinds of things you do need at that point."

Linda with her mountain of gifts. Credit: Personal photo

Linda started contacting local refuges to offer gifts to children who might otherwise get nothing for Christmas.

She asked find out how many children lived there, so she could buy presents for all of them. She also started working closely with charities and local authorities.

She initially worked from home, but the number of families she’s helped has grown significantly over the years.

The organisation she set, 'Four Steps to a Smile', was given charitible status in 2015. It is entirely volunteer-run.

The charity has recently been given a permanent space to operate from, in a shopping centre in Walsall. Linda plans to turn it into a drop-in-centre.

Linda and Steve on their wedding day. Credit: Personal photo

Three years ago Linda met her husband Steve. The couple faced a set-back in March 2017, when she discovered she had Grade Three Breast Cancer.

"That was a really difficult and tiring time for us. It's left its mark in many ways, Steve said.

"Hopefully she's through this, but it was a difficult year last year, lacking energy and fatigue. But she's refused to say I'm not going to do anything."

Despite her diagnosis, Linda raised more than £22,000 last year. Since 2001, she's raised more than £609,000.

Linda is about to turn 50 - and she wants 2018 to be her biggest year yet.

Linda preparing to deliver her personalised Christmas presents. Credit: Personal photo

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