Christmas Toy Appeal: Former editor diving in to raise money

Colin Grainger will be swimming 50 lengths to raise money for the Toy Appeal. Picture: Colin Grainger

Colin Grainger will be swimming 50 lengths to raise money for the Toy Appeal. Picture: Colin Grainger - Credit: Colin Grainger

The swimming pools may be shut until early December – but that’s not going to stop Colin Grainger from taking the plunge for the Toy Appeal for the 43rd time.

The former Recorder editor still aims to take on his annual swim to help raise money to give underprivileged children a treat on Christmas morning.

He had been training for the 50 lengths of breaststroke before lockdown and hopes to complete it as soon as possible once the pools reopen.

“It was 43 years ago that I first helped launch the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal with Kevin Jenkins,” Colin said.

“The appeal has helped tens of thousands of children over those years and in the middle of a global pandemic the appeal is still as relevant today as it was back then.”

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And while many of the appeal’s usual fundraising activities will be put on hold or operate in different ways this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the target remains the same – 18,000 new toys, books and other gifts for children who would otherwise have nothing to open this Christmas.

Colin said: “Over the coming two months, the Newham Recorder and charities Ambition, Aspire, Achieve and Community Links are joining forces for the campaign to bring joy to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

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“Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation as many of our children are still living in poverty. But this appeal looks to strengthen communities and raise aspirations at this time, making Christmas special and futures brighter.”

He added: “Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, which Kevin founded four years ago and of which I am a trustee, are facilitating the appeal and all the money will be spent on new toys for the appeal, which the entire community in Newham supports.”

To sponsor Colin, visit

If you’re taking on a challenge of your own to raise money for the Toy Appeal and would like to feature in the Recorder, email

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