Search

Toy Appeal: ‘As vital today at it is was all those years ago’

PUBLISHED: 14:57 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:57 04 December 2017

Former Newham Recorder editor Colin Grainger.

Former Newham Recorder editor Colin Grainger.

Archant

The Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal has been a part of my life for 40 years, writes former editor Colin Grainger.

Back in 1977 I met with co-founder and now life president of Community Links, Kevin Jenkins, who explained the need for such a campaign.

With Links now looking back over its 40-year history, it is a time to reflect on the need for such a campaign. There’s a simple answer to that question – yes.

The appeal IS as vital today as it was all those years ago. Despite the prosperity of some, many people live below the poverty line. And the special help Recorder readers give, is vital. It is an appeal at the heart of all that is good in the community.

In fact, it may be even more relevant than ever before. Back in the formative years, the feeling was that the number of needy youngsters was growing and getting the community to donate around 500 toys would provide a special treat. I was picked to lead the campaign for the paper. This special appeal soon captured the hearts of the community. The following year the target was 1,000 and as the years went by the need grew and last year it topped 17,000 toys.

Hundreds of celebrities have helped launch or have taken part in the campaign each year and even the Royal household back it with a donation. Businesses, organisations, pubs, clubs, groups all do their bit. Another remarkable fact is that those children who got joy from the campaign are now among the volunteers who help spread a little happiness each Christmas to those who need it most.

But it is the individuals who are so important, and reflect the spirit that exists in one of the most diverse communities.

The senior citizen who donates his or her pension, the talented makers of special gifts like teddies. The family on benefits who buy a small present. Newham Council also play an important role in the support they give and it really does your heart good to be part of something as special as this.

There’s also our junior task force – the youngsters who help raise money and provide toys for children less fortunate than themselves.

The divide between the haves and have nots is wider in some parts of the borough than it has been before. And it is those who have been referred to benefit from our campaign that need this special kind of joy most – and who DO benefit.

I am honoured to be a patron of the appeal and every year we urge everyone who can to give a toy because together we can fill those empty sacks and ensure that Christmas Day is a special for children who would otherwise go without.

Hopefully this year we will have again reached our target.

Latest Newham Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

The 22-year-old played for the under-23s on Monday night and wants to keep his match fitness up

Premier League
Yesterday, 13:00

West Ham United return to the London Stadium for their first home game of the new Premier League term on Saturday when Bournemouth visit.

After getting out on 49 last month and making double figures numerous times, the 21-year-old claimed his maiden fifty in T20 cricket last night

Ravi Bopara
Yesterday, 15:02

The friends and family of three-year-old Isla Caton - who has a rare form of cancer - held a special early birthday party for her before she leaves to go for specialist treatment in Barcelona.

Yesterday, 13:31

Two men have been arrested after allegedly assaulting two police officers and threatening them with a gun in Manor Park.

Metropolitan Police
Yesterday, 10:00

Clapton manager Jonny Fowell is hoping to have a few of his first-team squad return from injury for their clash with Stanway Rovers this weekend.

Essex Senior League
Yesterday, 09:33

Police are trying to find Rachael Joseph who has been missing since yesterday afternoon.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now