Amazing! Our Christmas Toy Appeal reaches target

A real Christmas Cracker! We’ve only gone and done it!

WHAT A real Christmas Cracker! We’ve only gone and done it!

The story of this year’s Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal is one of a real battle against the odds.

In what has been the most difficult of years in many of our lives, and facing some of the worst weather we have seen for many years, it seemed like the impossible dream.

But the fact that we managed a successful appeal really does prove what a special place Newham is. Community spirit is alive and well.

For the last seven weeks we really did think that for the first time in 34 years we would fail. Our appeal will each its target just before the final deadline later today.

Just in time for Father Christmas to arrive we have reached our aim for needy children. We have collected the equivalent of 13,500 toys for youngsters who need them most.

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Despite the doom and gloom that has hit everywhere this year, we can all really feel good at this special time of year. Our appeal in conjunction with a group that is at the very heart of local life in our borough truly does symbolise hope much hope we can take into 2011.

The donations came in big and small. Because of our seasonal deadlines, we cannot thank everyone in today’s paper. We will run more details showing the joy YOU all gave in our next issue.

Our appeal has provided gifts for more than 3,000 children to open on Christmas morning, and families at risk and senior citizens living alone had a seasonal food hamper to help them through Christmas.

The work of the staff and volunteers at Community Links is so special, They epitomise everything that is good in life locally.

Kevin Jenkins of Community Links said: “The happiness in the children’s faces makes it all so worthwhile.”

Watch out for more next week to end the year on a seasonal note of goodwill next week!

DRAMAS all over in just about every bit of the appeal that is at the heart of life in Newham.

First came the rain, then computer breakdowns, car trouble and then postal delays, and finally the snow seemed to conspire against us.

But it was never a dull moment in the last few days of the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal for 2010.

There have been some truly massive efforts and staff from Community Links have been out and about all over the borough collecting toys.

Gifts have been coming in to our drop-off points all over the borough and kind-hearted souls have been dropping off toys and money.

We would like to thank all those who have given and made it a Christmas to remember for Newham children who would otherwise have gone without.

On this pages are some of those who made last week so special. It was just fantastic and we will have news of more gifts and a whole lot of thank you’s.

There was a very real danger that the for the first time in 34 years we would meet our target.

But in the last seven days we have collected almost 5,000 toys.

Newham Council staff came to our aid. They raised over �211 with a quiz night for council staff run by Sue Meiners and her friends.

They also helped staged a toy collection at Building 2000. Thank you all so much.

The first of the gifts were handed out at parties on Saturday at Links base in Barking Road, CanningTown.

We were there to capture the joy. We will have more pictures next week of the joy YOU gave.

Links and ourselves have had the promise of toys being delivered to our appeal late yesterday and this morning.

Then the final gifts can be distributed to needy youngsters. Thanks for making our appeal so special. The full story on the appeal will be told next week.

NEWHAM Chamber of Commerce gave our photographer Steve Poston an early start on they handed over toys at a breakfast meeting!

Secretary of the Newham Chamber John James had encouraged his colleagues to do all they could to help our campaign.

They responded with a cash donation and more than 200 toys for our appeal with Community Links.

They also gave the appeal a healthy boost as many of the youngsters getting gifts will also get apples.

Said Kevin Jenkins from Links: “The Chamber managed to get us six boxes of apples from their friends at Spitalfields Market. It means our appeal will alslo have a health value added on top of it! An apple a day keeps the doctor away and all that.”

OUR Christmas Toy Appeal got a super boost on Thursday thanks to the generosity of workers and bosses on the Olympic site in Stratford.

They heard about the important work the appeal does and staged a collection and then went out and bought toys for the campaign.

The ODA and contractors working on the Olympic Park donated They presented almost �3,000 in cash and 500 toys for the appeal at Community Links’ headquarters in CanningTown.

Said Links co-ordinator Paula Blake: “It was just what the campaign needed.”

THE APPEAL got a fantastic boost from road contractors F M Conways Ltd, from Dartford.

They are currently laying roads and pavements in Newham and read about the appeal in the Recorder.

Presenting �1,000 and toys (above) are Lee Singleton, James Lodge and Steve Smith from the company with Paula Blake of Links.

Thanks goes to The Westover family and six cats from East Ham for their donation of �15 towards our cause, and a special thank you to former Newham Recorder chief reporter Susan Smith and husband Paul Jenkinson for their donation of �100.

WE HAVE had a network of drop-off points all over Newham where you have been able to leave toys.

In the last few hours today can you please just take them to:

NEWHAM RECORDER: The reception desk, Media House, 539, High Road, Ilford, 9am to 5.30pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS: Main Centre, Barking Road, Canning Town, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS CENTRAL PARK CENTRE: 2 Central Park Road, East Ham, during opening hours.

COMMUNITY LINKS ASTA CENTRE: Camel Road, Silvertown, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS ROKEBY CENTRE: Rokeby Street, Stratford, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

NEWHAM CITY FARM, Stansfeld Road, Beckton, during opening hours.

We can arrange for toys to be collected if you wish to make a donation but are housebound. Contact Kevin Jenkins, Paula Blake or reception at Community Links on (020) 7473 2270.

Alternatively, call Pat Coughtrey, Lee Peart, Kay Atwal or Colin Grainger on the Recorder’s Toy Appeal Desk on (020) 8478 4444. You can also make a cash donation.

We promise that every penny given will be spent on brand new toys for needy youngsters in our community. Please make any cheques payable to Community Links.