Colin Grainger

Simply the best – Toy Appeal reaches target

EVERY year for the last 39 a campaign in the community in East London has spread much needed joy to under-privileged children.

And I am happy to report on this lovely morning that the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal has reached its target of 16,000 toys – an incredible achievement.

It has taken much hard work from everyone involved in Community Links and  also in the community in Newham.

The kindness and generous shown has helped change the lives of some young ones who would otherwise have lost out.

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I will be lucky enough to be spending Christmas with my family including my one-year-old granddaughter Laura who will be at the heart of those celebrations. Next year, there will be two grandchildren in my life.

Laura will able to enjoy some presents but without this vital Christmas appeal thousands of children in Newham would go without.

The Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal is an appeal at the heart of all that is good in the community in East London.

I am proud to have been a part of that campaign for all its 39 years, the first 36 in many editorial roles including the last 15 years as Editor of the Recorder. In the last three years as a freelance journalist and editor,  I have also been a Freeman of Links and a patron of the appeal.

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The paper and Links joined up again for the campaign to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

Links is a truly remarkable organisation which does so much to enhance life in East London. I am honoured to be associated with it. This is the second year of Links’ Friends Group, of which I am one of the founders, former to help raise money for their vital work. They have lost millions in vital funding due to local and national government cutbacks. And the Friends group will do all it can to support Links in their work for people of all ages.

Many youngsters who benefited from campaigns years ago are now workers or volunteers at Links. It is a philosophy that has stood the test of time: helping and enabling people to help themselves.

The festive spirit shone brightly locally. The generous donations made have ensured there are presents for the children who need them the most.


“It’s brilliant,” said Community Links co-founder and life president Kevin Jenkins. “We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts.”

Links and the Recorder  thank some remarkable people. From the youngsters and pensioners and families who gave to the small and large businesses and companies. Thank you everyone for having hearts of gold.

Thank you 16,000 times over for helping the appeal reach its target.

Community Links does tremendous work in our community all year round, to please help them in any way you can in 2016.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Kevin Jenkins revealed a Roll of Honour thank you list just moments ago.


Major Supporters

Long term key major support Glyn Hopkin Ltd


Byrne Group Plc



Ladbrokes                    O’Shea                         Aspers                         Royal Docks Trust

Clark Electrical          Pinnacle                      Ace Companies       East London Foundation                                                                                                                                                         Trust

Viridor                         Thames Water           Muse

The Berkley Foundation                              Land Securities

Toy Collections

Capita – Real Estate E12                                                         Clifford Chance

Investec (and cash donation)                                              Reed Smith Solicitors – EC3

Forest School, Snaresbrook                                                 First Reserve

Eastcourt School (Goodmayes)                                           Chevron Energy Ltd, Cavendish


Active Newham – E15                                                                 iiaa – NW2

Newham Partnership Working                                             Morgan Stanley, Canary Wharf

Aspers Casino E15                                                                         Close Brothers

London Legacy Development Legacy                                  Variety Club

Vanguard Asset Management, EC4N 8AF                         Fence Club

Bank of England, EC2R 8AH (and cash donation)        Hendersons Global Investors

TPG Capital – SV1                                                                            Freemantle Media

John Lewis, Stratford                                                                  Fidelity International

Valero                                                                                                 CVC Capital Partners

Barclays, Canary Wharf                                                            Tate & Lyle (and cash donation)

ELBA                                                                                                 Harrow Green

Bank of New York Mellon                                                       Heart Radio


Churches – Toy Services

All Saints – Writtle                                           St James and St Johns – Havering-the-Bower

St Michaels – Gidea Park                                Brentwood United Reform Church

St Saviours Church, E7                                   All Nations Church

All Saints Church, Goodmayes


Christmas 100 Club


Lyn Brown MP                            Arriva                                       Edwards Duffy Solicitors

Stephen Timms MP                 Simply Loos                            Writtle United Reformed Church

Bernice Haber                           Newham Recorder                Bowling Law, E15

OMM                                             D E Ford Insurance

Wiseman Lee                            Hawkins Brown


Other Donations

Zara – Fashion Vouchers

River Island – Fashion Vouchers

Scholastic Books – over 30 cases of books

MacMillan Books – Childrens Books

Bibliophile Books, Canning Town – Books

Newham Bookshop – Books

Diamond ProStar – Footballs

EliJoe – Books

With special thanks to all the individuals who have dropped off gifts or cash over the past six weeks.

Special Thanks

Mr John Murphy – Managing Director of Quattro Plant Hire, E15 for providing the Christmas                            Warehouse for eight weeks.


Bits and Bobs

  • Lister School staff raised an amazing £465.70 by raffling a large soft toy on the last day of term.
  • A wonderful personal donation of £500 from BB.
  • Rose Bennett wonderful handmade teddy bears and hat/glove sets once again make lovely bespoke presents for the children receiving them.
  • £55 Christmas Jumper Day Donation from T+L Sugars – Bedford Street Office.
  • Over£350 donation from T+L Sugars – Silvertown – Christmas Dinner.
  • £43.42 received by Bucket Collection at GRA Christmas Market.
  • Love Pink Lily clothing – £50


+ Pictured: Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales boosts the appeal with his annual donation.

+ Colin Grainger raises over £250 through his sponsored swim,

+ Bikers donate toys in their sponsored bike ride.

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This article was written on 23 Dec 2015, and is filed under Christmas Toy Appeal, Community Links, community spirit, Kevin Jenkins, Newham, Newham Recorder.

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