A generous Secret Santa with a sack full of cash left three Dacorum charities open-mouthed with astonishment this week.
The anonymous businessmen presented a windfall gift of £5,000 in cash with no strings attached.
His only stipulation was that the money should be used to make Christmas a little happier for those facing real hardship.
In order to conceal his identity the benefactor approached Gazette editor John Francis for his advice in selecting the best destination for his donation, and to handle the handover.
He agreed that £2,000 should go to the Dacorum Community Trust, a similar sum to Dens Action Against Homelessness, and £1,000 to Hemel Hempstead’s Salvation Army.
The Trust and Dens work closely with people in desperate need, including those without a roof over their head, food on the table or a penny in their pocket.
As the money was handed over on Monday, Trust manager Margaret Kingston said: “Frankly I am gobsmacked. I don’t believe we have ever had a donation of this size before, and it is completely unexpected.
“All of us want to thank the wonderful person who was inspired to help so many people
“This will make a real difference to many people’s lives. It will help keep heating and light on, it will cook hot dinners, it will buy shoes without holes.
“Many local families are struggling and a crisis can quickly happen, leaving them in desperate circumstances.
“These are the people who turn to us for help – ordinary families just like the rest of us.”