Haverhill schoolboy Reggie Nelson has unforgettable 11th birthday after card appeal sees 170 delivered to his home
A Haverhill schoolboy has had a 'birthday he'll never forget' after he received almost 170 cards from kind strangers across the country.
Reggie Nelson, who celebrated his 11th birthday yesterday, was kept in the dark about his big surprise which was brought about after his mum Sarah launched a Facebook appeal.
"Reggie has OCD and ADHD and lockdown has been a struggle for him because he's used to his routine and going to school," she said.
"The virus has made him more anxious and he worries about going out. I wanted to show him that he is loved and there is support out there. I thought it'd be a good confidence boost."
Sarah posted on a residents' Facebook group on Tuesday asking if members would consider sending Reggie, who is the youngest of six children, a card.
Within hours, the post had more than 100 likes and around 60 comments from people saying they would send cards and gifts.
Cards started arriving at the family's East Park Close home the following day and Thursday saw so many cards, some of which had been home-made, that the postman had to knock on the door to deliver them.
"When I posted on Facebook, I expected maybe 30 cards - I thought that would have been lovely to have a few extra cards for him to open," said Sarah.
"But they just kept coming all week. I've been so surprised everyday at how many there actually are."
All the cards were hidden away by Sarah and her husband James until Friday to make sure it was a surprise for Kedington Primary Academy pupil Reggie.
But it wasn't just cards that they had to keep a secret.
Residents baked cakes for him to enjoy on his big day, Lego and other gifts were delivered to him and there was even an offer of a post-lockdown party to celebrate.
People also sent emails and messages of support to Sarah.
"I didn't think that we would end up having so much kindness shown to us," she said.
"I didn't realise people were going to message me and it meant so much to speak to people who have been or are going through the same things we are.
"It's just so heartening and lovely."
And no one was more touched by the project than Reggie who was 'overwhelmed' with happiness on the morning of his birthday.
"He walked in the room and just looked at me with a surprised look," said Sarah.
"He didn't understand at first where they'd all come from but when I explained to him and showed him the post, he was so overwhelmed but in a lovely way.
"He couldn't believe I'd done it."
Sarah added that it took hours to read through all the messages in the cards, some of which had been sent from as far as Bristol and Poole.
"People had written such beautiful things in the cards and told him he was amazing," she said.
"It was just such a positive thing for him and we can't thank people enough for taking the time out of their days to do this for him.
"I was really overwhelmed and choked up the whole day. With all the things going on at the moment, and all the people in lockdown and shielding, I can't believe the effort people put in to cheering up Reggie.
"I want to thank everyone who sent Reggie a card and who helped to make this a birthday he is never going to forget."