Colin Grainger

Sleighed by your kindness – remarkable campaign reaches its target for the 41st year in a row

EVERY 12 months for the last 41 years a campaign in the community in Newham has spread much needed joy to children who need it most.

And I am happy to report on this lovely Christmas day morning that the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal has reached its target of 18,000 toys – an incredible achievement.

It has taken much hard work from everyone involved . The kindness and generosity shown has helped change the lives of some young ones who would otherwise have lost out.

One incredible donation in the last seven days really helped us get over the line. The MACE group giving page raised over £8,750 from individual MACE employees and companies in the MACE supply chain. This was in addition to the donations listed in our roll of honour below and was accompanied by over 400 toys.

The was simply a brilliant response and John O’Keefe and Rowan Willmore from MACE are pictured at our Toy Warehouse handing over the gifts.

They are our featured cover photo and also pictured here below.

Kevin Jenkins, life present of Links and Toy Appeal co-ordinator said: “It started as a trickle of gifts and donations in mid-November and ended in a torrent of gifts and donations pouring in over the last seven days from businesses, schools, clubs, organisations and individual residents. This ensured that each child referred to the 41st campaign was able to wake up to a Christmas stocking on Christmas Day morning.

“I thank everyone who contributed to the appeal from the bottom of my heart, for giving Newham’s most disadvantaged children a real Christmas Day  – you are all wonderful Secret Santas.”

Kevin added: “We also want to especially thank John Murphy, managing director of Quattro Plane Hire, Stratford, for providing the toy warehouse pro-bono for six weeks, right at the heart of the appeal.”

There were also 305 volunteers who spent a day helping at the warehouse from the Bank of New York Mellon, Lego, MACE, Barclays Accenture and Burberry.

I am lucky enough to be spending Christmas with my family and my grandchildren will be at the heart of those celebrations.

They will be able to enjoy some presents but without our annual Christmas appeal thousands of children in Newham would go without.

It is an appeal at the heart of all that is good in the community in East London.


* Four of the fund raising efforts for this year’s appeal. Clockwise: My sponsored swim, Newham Chamber of Commerce, Green Street traders and  Forest School

I am proud to have been a part of this campaign for all its 41 years, the first  in many editorial roles and then for 15 years as Editor of the Recorder. In the last six years I have been a Freeman of Links and a patron of the appeal.

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

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,” added appeal organiser Kevin Jenkins.

Performers from the Deborah Day Theatre School Trust, who raised £1,756 in their appeal show. 

Links and the Recorder have and will say their own special thank yous to some remarkable people in paper and on their websites and social media in the coming days and weeks.

But as is traditional, we want to send a thank you to as many as we can.

So here’s the roll of honour as we know it . For those many who gave anonymously, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Financial Donations – general: IOD Skip Hire – E16; Scrutton Estates – E16; J Coffey Construction Ltd; Hawkins Brown Architects; Aspers Casino – Stratford E15; Upsdales – Estate Agents Manor Park E12; Higgins Group – Loughton; Lego; MACE Construction; Severfield PLC; Carey Construction; Willerby Landscapes; Alloy Fabweld Ltd; 3i Group SW1; CVC Capital Partners Ltd WC2R; Royal Docks Trust; Staff at LLDC and Cash For Kids – Magic Radio.

Christmas 100 Club: Lyn Brown MP; Stephen Timms MP; Duthie Hart E6; Bowling Law E15; Kesslers E15; Bridget Byrne  and Paul White.

Toy Services: St Nicholas Church, Kelvedon Hatch; St Saviour’s, Forest Gate and All Saints, Writtle.

Toy Collections: Global Media – Giving Tree; Janus Henderson; Bank of New York Mellon; Clifford Chance; Freemantle W1; Chevron; Valero Energy; MACE; Vinci Facilities Management; CVC Capital Partners; Bryon Cave Leighton and Paisner; Zurich Insurance; iiaa Ltd; University of East London; Lend Lease; Newham Partnership Working; Dave McQueen – Rip Fitness; East London Business Alliance; Newham Chamber of Commerce; Next PLC; Forest School E17; Mae Architects; Investec; Green Street Traders and First Reserve.

We especially thank the Newham Recorder and Community Links staff and all the Newham residents who have kindly dropped off gifts or donations over the last six weeks as well as all those at the collection points who are vital hubs, together with Newham Council staff.

Finally, it is time to  thank you all 18,000 times over for helping the appeal reach its target. It really does your heart good to know people are willing to make a difference.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2019.




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This article was written on 24 Dec 2018, and is filed under Christmas Toy Appeal, Community Links, community spirit, MACE, Newham Recorder.

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