Colin Grainger

How a child’s sad tale of woe sparked support for our special appeal

As a long-serving MP for Newham Lyn Brown is used to making speeches in the House of Commons and to groups all over Newham and the rest of the country.

But it was a story she told to a group of local traders  that was literally “out of the mouths of babes” that made an impact and sent them on mission to help local youngsters that is now in its fourth year.

Lyn was addressing a group of Muslim and Sikh traders four years ago when they and former Cllr Asif Karim heard her talk about a little boy who could not understand why he would be without toys at Christmas.

“It was heartbreaking because the lad asked me what he had done that was so bad that Father Christmas would not be visiting him.

“The traders immediately started collecting toys for the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal,” said West Ham MP Lyn.

“This is their fourth year and the donations get bigger and bigger.  This year they also collected jumpers and warm clothing.  They are a lovely unassuming caring bunch.”

  • Representatives of Green Street traders with MP Lyn Brown handing over their appeal donations to Paula Blake from Ambition Aspire Achieve. They are Asif Karim, Harjinder Sanghera, Nishaan Singh, Polly Nandhray and Kulwinder Sanghera. Picture: Ken Mears, Newham Recorder.

Representatives handed over the toys they had collected and donated for the appeal – run by the Newham Recorder in partnership with Community Links and facilitated by Ambition, Aspire, Achieve – at Partap Property Company.

Lyn, who went along to thank them for their contributions, said: “It seems to me that the Green Street traders have provided even more than last year for the Toy Appeal.

“When many of the families of Newham are struggling, this is so, so important.

“We have a child poverty rate above 50 per cent and we must ensure every young child knows that Father Christmas hasn’t forgotten them.”

Ms Brown added toys had been donated by Newham people of many different faiths and beliefs – many of whom don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

“But that doesn’t impact their spirit of generosity and selfless giving one bit,” she said. “I’m massively grateful to the Green Street traders and to everyone else who has given to this essential appeal this year and every year.  And I am always grateful to AAA, Paula and Kevin Jenkins and others  for their unstinting work and real commitment to the cause of children in this borough.”


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This article was written on 30 Dec 2019, and is filed under Ambition Aspire Achieve, Christmas, Christmas Toy Appeal, Lyn Brown, Newham Recorder.

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