Colin Grainger

Simply the best: The final days of our Christmas Toy Appeal – and our Roll of Honour

Oh Oh Oh, it’s magic. You know. Thank you to all those who contributed to the forty fourth Christmas Toy Appeal for youngsters who would otherwise have gone without.

We could not have done it without you – and all those special staff and volunteers of charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA).

The final days of the appeal and even after Christmas Day itself brought gifts from far and wide and the presents were delivered right up to Christmas Day. Some even went out yesterday.

In the final week The Rotary Club of Newham first presented toys and then made a second presentation of a cheque for £500 to AAA Chief Executive Jonny Boux.

  • Mr Boux and Rotary Club members

Then workers from the Vinci Construction Company involved in developments on the the Olympic Park, specifically the halls of residence for the new UCL campus, came together to raise £519 from a Christmas Jumper Day fundraiser. Picture below.

John Ratomski from the Irons Supporting Foodbanks group made a third donation to the appeal – this time 250 selection packs. Another football fillip for our campaign came from London based Liverpool fans, who are working with John to support local causes. Appeal organiser Paula Blake and Mr Boux received an amazing £1,000 from Raj Handhi from the Bank of Red Indians group.

Next to shine were workers from the Tideway, who are building the Super Sewer, who presented gifts to AAA’s Marie Poinsamy at the Arc In The Park.

  • Above: Toy boost from Liverpool fans and Tideway

And Lister Community School headteacher Mr Kunal Vora presented toys with the help of pupils and a teacher, after fund raising efforts.

* Lister School with their toy appeal donations

This was followed by a donation of gifts from Burberry. Two representatives dropped them off at the toys warehouse, and presented them to appeal organiser Paula Blake. Then came kindness from those at Mick White’s Furniture Discount, of  Cumberland Road, Plaistow. Representatives dropped off an array of toys.

  • Burberry and Mick’s Discount Furniture drop off their gifts at our toy warehouse, above.

We’d like to thank  AAA volunteers who helped stage a Christmas party for youngsters at the Terence Brown Arc In The Park, pictured below.



Zoe Agada, bar associate from the Miller’s Well, Wetherspoon in Barking Road, East Ham, and Louise Stewart, one of the managers, then stepped up to present toys to the campaign.

  • Above: Zoe and Louise from the Miller’s Well with their gifts


And staff at Gallions Reach Shopping Park, Beckton, and its retailers joined forces to give more toys. The shopping park team were also at the toy warehouse earlier in the appeal to offload and sort presents. The shopping park also acted as a drop off point for toys to be donated to by shoppers.

  • Gallions Reach hand over some of their toys to AAA

At Gallions Reach retailers played their part; TK Maxx ran an in-house toy collection with staff purchasing  toys, games, and books that amounted to £300 worth of items. Smyths Toys donated £200 worth of arts and crafts activities in addition to the shopping park’s donation of £500 worth of toys.

Centre Manager Andy Pay, said: “Since we began our involvement with the appeal two years ago, we have been amazed by the generosity of those that donate and by the volunteers who give up their time.

  • Gifts from Gainsborough School pupils (above)


The appeal was featured in a special series by BBC London TV. Reporter Ayshea Buksh and a cameraman filmed  the toys being sorted and being made ready, and interviewed Paula Blake, Jonny Boux and Colin Grainger. It was screened on Christmas Eve and is available on iPlayer. If you can’t find it on iPlayer, you can view on our Facebook or Twitter pages. See pictures below of Paula being interviewed.


  • Paula is interviewed by the BBC London team

Gifts of love came to the Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal from many people this year. Here’s our roll of honour.

Thank you to Rose Bennett for her knitted dolls and clothing. To John O’Keefe and all at MACE for toy donations and funding, and their huge work at our toy warehouse. To estate agent Simon Taylor for £500 for our Christmas Panto and signs and Joanna Hough of Superdrug for perfumes donated.

There were donations from: Edwards, Duthie and Shamash Solicitors of £200; Ian Chamberlain £20; Fence club – toys; Vivian Archer at Newham Bookshop books worth £500; Aisha Chaudhry of L & Q Homes £1,000 and the Royal Docks Trust agreed a £2,000 funding application. AAA Trustee Colin Grainger raised £700 through a sponsored swim and Link City gave a £1,000 donation. The Rotary Club of Newham donated £1,000 and toys; Stephen Timms MP £100, Lyn Brown MP £200, and the Sunday Doubles Tenpin bowling league.

All Funds made a volunteering and personal donation and ELBA also made a £250 donation to the campaign and toys. Owen and Nora donated their pocket money and there were other anonymous gifts. Berkeley Homes donated £1,000 and Glyn Hopkin/St James Place donated £2,500; UBS made toy donations. Axis Bank helped at our warehouse and donated £2,500 and toys. Quattro Plant in Stratford donated the use of the warehouse for the duration of the campaign and we’d also like to thank LEGO for their £250 and help at the warehouse.

Oher donations came from Thames Water, John Barber and Anna Larson of the BBC. Bain Capital gave us a donation and toys; Rina and Neo Naha toys donations and advent calendars. Valero made toys donations. John Ratomski of Irons Supporting Foodbanks made three donations of toys, clothing and sports gear. Zurich made gifts of toys and books. Accenture made a £400 donation and volunteering contributions, and Janus Henderson a £300 donation and volunteering contribution and toys.

Chelsfield and Reed Smith made cash and toys donations and there were donations from BCLP, Mae, CVC, Investec, Bowling & Co and 3i. Toy donations came in from Freemantle, Mrs Wiggins, St Nicholas Church, Kelvedon Hatch, St Margaret’s Catholic Church, Doddington,  and Bluewater Giving Tree.

Gallions Reach volunteered at our warehouse and then made both toys and cash donations from various shops. Walkers Books gave over 500 books to the appeal and Scholastic also gave books. Eastlea School donated food for hampers and toys; Brampton School raised almost £500 through a Christmas Jumper Day. Pilgrims Church and Vinci handed over financial gifts. Rosetta Primary also raised cash through a Christmas Jumper Day. Lister School gave us food for hampers through their similar day, as did Gainsborough Primary.

The Red Indians Liverpool fans donated £1,000. The Miller’s Well pub in East Ham made a donation and toys; Higgins Construction toys; Burberry a cash and toys donation. Mick’s Furniture Discount made food hamper donations and toy donations.  ASG Doors and Shutters gave food for hampers and Menzies Distribution food hamper delivery.

  • The Menzies team load up the hampers


The Newham Chamber of Commerce presented toys to the appeal and John Pryke and bikers from East London and Essex made their annual toy run for the appeal to donate heaps of gifts.

And the Deborah Day Theatre School made cash and toy donations to the appeal they have been supporting for many years.

Hasseeb Saud, of Ethnic Star Ltd, donated 1,000 baby vests to the appeal.

And we’d also like to thank Richard Halls of Trident Pest Control for sponsoring the the AAA Christmas Cards this year.

And pupils from Forest School in Walthamstow staged a toy collection for the campaign.

Thank you everyone.


Pictures: AAA, Jonny Boux, Paula Blake, Lucy Jenkins and Colin Grainger


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