Christmas Toy Appeal: Riding and swimming to help underprivileged children

Colin Grainger in training for his sponsored swim.

Colin Grainger in training for his sponsored swim. - Credit: Colin Grainger

Toys have started to trickle in for the Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal. But now we need to turn that trickle into a flood.

The appeal is run by Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA) in conjunction with the Recorder and supported by Community Links and within hours of the appeal launch, donations started to come in and promises of fundraising events and support have followed.

The Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal logo

The Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal aims to help as many young people as possible. - Credit: AAA

Kind-hearted motorcyclists will make their usual Christmas Toy Run next month to provide much-needed new toys for the appeal.

It’s been an annual event in support ofthe campaign for many years  – and the bikers also do a similar run to provide Easter Eggs for youngsters in the spring too.

Organiser John Pryke explained that the bikers will start off their run at Triumph East London headquarters in London Road, Romford, at noon on Saturday, December 4.

“We are proud once again to come together for the appeal in aid of children in east London. It’s an event we enjoy tremendously and we have always been inspired by the work of Kevin Jenkins, Paula Blake, and everyone connected with the campaign,” he said.

This year John and the other groups of bikers and their friends have faced a little obstacle with the creation of the ULEZ, which means those with older bikes and cars have to pay £12.50 to come to the drop-off point at the Terence Brown Arc in the Park.

“Once we have collected toys, those with non-compliant motorcyles will transfer them to those who can ride into Newham,” John explained. 

Colin Grainger with his granddaughter Laura

Colin Grainger with his granddaughter Laura - Credit: Colin Grainger

Meanwhile, former Newham Recorder editor Colin Grainger will be diving in to raise funds for the Christmas Toy Appeal next month. He is bidding to complete a 50-length sponsored swim for the campaign - the 44th year in a row that he has taken the plunge.

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“It’s getting harder every year but it’s for a cause I believe in and am sure I can manage it, “ said Colin, 67, who is a patron of Toy Appeal as well as a trustee of AAA.

Colin is adding more lengths to his training schedule each week, and has even been joined by his six-year-old granddaughter Laura for one session.

To sponsor Colin, go to