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More than 4,170 pairs of socks were donated at stations across the Govia Thameslink Railway network on Thursday 5th December, to support six key homeless shelters across the route.

Sock collections took place at train stations across the network, as selected homeless charities and Govia Thameslink Railway – the UK’s largest rail network – joined forces to give those sleeping rough a new pair of socks over the festive period.

As part of the rail operator’s commitment to support homelessness initiatives in local communities, GTR volunteers held the festive collections at eight stations across the network, as well as teams collecting at offices and depots across the network.

The generous turnout saw over 4,170 pairs of socks collected for selected regional charities. Often overlooked as an unimportant item, for those sleeping rough, a pair of socks is essential for keeping feet warm and dry. Without them, there is a great risk of blisters, fungal infections and even trench foot.

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response and support for the activity and want to thank our customers and colleagues for their generous donations. This is the first year for the Great Sock Appeal and overall, we collected in excess of 4,170 pairs of socks. We are thrilled to have been able to support such a worthy cause during the cold winter period.”

Jim O’Connor, Chief Executive of GTR charity partner, NOAH Enterprise said; “On behalf of the people who are homeless and, in too many cases, rough sleeping this Christmas, we at NOAH Enterprise say thank you to GTR’s customers for their generosity and kindness in donation over 4,000 pairs of socks for the use and comfort of people living on the streets. Our thanks go equally to Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and all of their staff for making possible this tremendous and warming gesture.

“Wishing you and all GTR travellers a very Happy Christmas – you have contributed to making it so for others who have so little.”

GTR worked also with national homeless charity St Mungos to help identify local shelters and charities across the route to benefit from the network-wide collections, with a total of 4,172 pairs of socks collected at the 8 stations on 5 December and through staff donations.