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Toy Appeal: Hammers stars make Christmas come early for young fans

PUBLISHED: 10:31 09 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:03 09 November 2016

Darren Randolph, Slaven Bilic, Sam Howes, Havard Nordtviet and Aaron Cresswell launch the toy appeal (Picture: Griffiths Photographers)

Darren Randolph, Slaven Bilic, Sam Howes, Havard Nordtviet and Aaron Cresswell launch the toy appeal (Picture: Griffiths Photographers)

Griffiths Photographers

West Ham FC stars met with children to kickstart this year’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

Champ hugs Slaven Bilic (Picture: Griffiths Photographers)Champ hugs Slaven Bilic (Picture: Griffiths Photographers)

Every year, charity Community Links and the Newham Recorder work together to collect toys to give as Christmas gifts to underprivileged children on Christmas morning who otherwise would not have any presents.

Hammers stars jumped at the chance to back the appeal, running almost 40 years.

First team players including Payet, Ogbonna, Zaza and Noble have all donated gifts to underprivileged children, as has manager Slaven Bilic, and all took time out of their busy schedules last week to donate gifts to the appeal, and to spend time with three boys with special needs who are involved in the charity.

‘Champ’ Crow, 15, Darryl Hood, 17, and Alex Harvey, 16, were thrilled to head down to the Rush Green training ground, where they met a host of players - and were given a signed pair of boots each by Andy Carroll.

Youngsters Champ Crow, Darryl Hood and Alex Harvey meeting West Ham footballers and posing with some of the toys for the appealYoungsters Champ Crow, Darryl Hood and Alex Harvey meeting West Ham footballers and posing with some of the toys for the appeal

Community Links Christmas co-ordinator Paula Blake said that Christmas came early for the trio, as the day was “a dream come true.”

“Andy Carroll gave them a signed pair of boots each and they were absolutely over the moon.

“They had a fantastic time.”

The teens, who all have special needs and learning difficulties, were delighted to meet their footballing heroes and Champ threw his arms around Mr Bilic, who has four children himself.

Champ Crow with Dimitri PayetChamp Crow with Dimitri Payet

The Premier League manager said: “West Ham is really delighted to support the Toy Appeal. It’s such a worthy cause and as a father myself I would really encourage everyone to get behind it to make a child’s Christmas much brighter.”

His sentiment was echoed by Recorder editor Michael Adkins, who said: “Community Links has more than 30 years experience supporting children, young people, adults and families in the borough through various initiatives.

“The annual Christmas Toy Appeal, held in association with the Newham Recorder, is a hugely important part of their work.

“Our goal is to make sure no child goes without a present at Christmas.

“It’s a bold statement we can only achieve with your generosity.

“If you are in a position to donate a toy, or pledge money to make this possible, please do so knowing your gift will make this Christmas extra special to the thousands of disadvantaged families in Newham.”

Toy Appeal founder Kevin Jenkins OBE, explained: “The children helped will be living in poverty.

“At Christmas problems sadly do not go away, nor do low wages or benefits rise to meet the additional costs associated with Christmas.

“Together we can make a difference for each child. We can give them both a Christmas stocking and the knowledge that the local community cares too.”


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