Colin Grainger

Lift off for sponsored swim for vital appeal

I’m raising funds for a special appeal that has been part of my life in Newham for 43 years…a campaign that is right at the heart of life in East London.

It was all those years ago that I first helped launch the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal, with Kevin Jenkins. 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.

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. 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.

Figures released just a week ago show that Newham has more children in need than any other London borough,

I am proud to be a patron of the toy appeal campaign, having been part of the appeal for the Recorder as reporter, news editor, sub-editor, assistant editor, deputy editor, associate editor and then as Editor during my 40 years at the Recorder. I have remained part of it as a patron since I left almost eight years ago.

Next month will also be the 43nd time I have dived in to swim 50 lengths breast stroke to help raise money for the appeal.

I’m building up the lengths now and will be doing the swim in the first week in December.  Timed sessions  have to be booked at our local pools due to COVID restrictions and are shorter than usual, so I may have to start the swim in one session and pause for ten minutes and complete it in the second  – as I’m getting on a bit !

The Recorder and AAA will be publishing a list of drop off points where you can donate new toys and gifts. We need to collect 15,000 new toys – a huge challenge.

Charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, which Kevin founded four years ago and of which I am a trustee, will also be providing much more as part of the appeal. AAA are facilitating the appeal and all the money will be spent on new toys for the appeal, which the entire community in Newham supports.

If you would like to give to my small effort or the wider appeal that would be great. Thank you. Details on how you can support the campaign in general will be in the Recorder every week and on their website from early November and also on my website and also on our social media pages.

Thanks again for your support.

You can donate here:


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This article was written on 31 Oct 2020, and is filed under Ambition Aspire Achieve, Christmas Toy Appeal, sponsored swim.

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