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Christmas Toy Appeal 2018: School pupils and fitness coach drop off last minute donations

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 December 2018

Newham-based personal trainer, Dave McQueen, with his donation. Picture: Kevin Jenkins

Newham-based personal trainer, Dave McQueen, with his donation. Picture: Kevin Jenkins

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Last minute donations to the toy appeal helped ensure Newham’s most in need children received a gift this Christmas morning.

Marie Poinsamy from the Toy Appeal with Lyn Garner, CEO of the LLDC,  together with Louise Jeffery, Ben Edmonds and PJ Choi. Picture: Ken MearsMarie Poinsamy from the Toy Appeal with Lyn Garner, CEO of the LLDC, together with Louise Jeffery, Ben Edmonds and PJ Choi. Picture: Ken Mears

Today, thousands of children in east London woke up to a toy they may not have been expecting, thanks to kind donations from across the borough.

Among the donations was an incredible £487.50 and more than 100 toys from Dave McQueen, a personal trainer and head of RIP Fitness.

Dave has been teaching fitness in Newham for 30 years, and was aiming to tap into his extensive client base to gather a good collection – and it clearly paid off.

He said: “It was a pleasure to help a local appeal that directly helps local children who need our help the most at Christmas time.

Lister School pupils have collected toys and money through their non uniform day. Picture: Ken MearsLister School pupils have collected toys and money through their non uniform day. Picture: Ken Mears

“I would like to thank everyone who gave to this life changing appeal – next year I want to quadruple the amount raised.”

Dave’s focus was on providing toys for families in temporary accommodation, and he asked his clients to provide smaller gifts for those in smaller homes.

He said: “I’ve seen a huge difference in the community I grew up in.

“I see so many who are homeless, so it’s something I’m pushing for.

“What we don’t think about is all those families in temporary accommodation, who are homeless, but will be receiving toys.”

Dave’s donation was joined by one from the London Legacy Development Corporation, and another from pupils at Lister School in Plaistow. The students are regular contributors, and managed to gather toys and raise money by holding a non-uniform day.

Management services company, Mace, set up a giving page which raised more than £8,750 from individual staff and companies in the Mace supply chain. A week before Christmas, John O’Keeffe and Rowan Willmore from Mace also dropped in to hand over 400 toys.

The toys were all gathered in one place by John Murphy, managing director of Quattro Plant Hire E15, who kindly provided a warehouse for free, for six weeks.

He was helped by 305 volunteers from Bank of New York, Mellon, Lego, Mace, Barclays, Accenture and Burberry, who spent the day playing Santa’s elves, helping to organise the donations.

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