Colin Grainger

Sleighed by your kindness – toy appeal is true spirit of Christmas


WE’VE done it! It gives me great pleasure this Christmas Eve morning to report that the appeal at the heart of life in Newham has reached its massive target.

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 in the community in Newham.

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

We will all have our own ways of celebrating over the festive period, and now thousands of children who would not have felt that joy will be able to have a happy Christmas.

The appeal reflects the good things in life in East London. As Prince Harry told ITV earlier this week: “Doing good things is fun.” He urged people to get out and help their communities and that is exactly what this campaign is all about.

Individuals, groups and organisations and volunteers have all come forward to do their bit.

But none of this would be possible without the two main people who devote their very existence to helping change and improve the lives of others, Kevin Jenkins and his wife Paula Blake. They deserve the thanks and love of everyone in Newham.

I am proud to have been a part of the campaign for all its 39 years, the first 35 in many editorial roles including the last 15 years as Editor of the Recorder. In the last four years as a freelance journalist and editor, I have also become a Freeman of Links and a patron of the toy appeal.

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.

Full reports on the appeal’s final days and a list of thank you’s will appear in the Newham Recorder next Wednesday and the week after, as donations were still coming in even last night. All the toys are being distributed as you read this and any last minute gifts from today will be used for the campaign next year.

Thank you to reporter Zoah Hedges-Stock and Recorder news editor Sophie Morton and all  the Recorder staff for their support.








The campaign would like to thank the following for toy collections.: Turner Townsend – Project Management Consultancy EC4M; East London Business Alliance E14 ; Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP – International Land Firm EC4R; MuF Architecture & Art E8; 3iiaa – International Institute for Anti-Aging NW2; The Royal Household Buckingham Palace SW1; Newham Chamber of Commerce; First Reserve International – Investment Service SW1; Chevron W1; Bank of New York Mellon EC4; U+I Plc – International Property Developers SW1; iii Investment Services E1; Zurich Insurance EC3; Newham Partnership Working E13; Morgan Stanley E14; Tate and Lyle Sugars; Clifford Chance; Network Rail E20; Bank of England – Threadneedle Street EC2.

Collections were also staged at:Legg Mason Global Asset Management EC2; CVC Capital Partners WC2 ; Aspers Casino – Stratford E20; Reed Smith LLP EC2; Freemantle Media W1; Forest School E17; London Academy of Excellence E20; John Sisk and Son Construction – St Albans; Investec Bank Plc EC2; Valero Energy; Newham CCG; Green Street Traders Association; Mace Construction; Eastside Sisters; Vinci Facilities Management.



Toy Services were staged by: All Saints – Writtle; St Saviours – Forest Gate; All Saints – Goodmayes; St Nicholas – Kelvedon Hatch; St Michaels – Romford; St James and St Johns – Havering- atte – Bower and St Georges – East Ham.

Community Links life president Kevin Jenkins said special thanks also go to:

Glyn Hopkin – for his continuing all round backbone support for the appeal;

The Heart Giving Tree at Bluewater – for their wonderful donation of toys, games and books for all ages.

Mace Group – for their continuing support and once again a really amazing collection of toys wiith the London Learning Development Corporation

Byrne Brothers – for their continued all round support.

Rose Bennett – for once again knitting toys throughout the year for the appeal.

John Sisk and Son – for the lovely traditional wooden toys, handmade by Sisk apprentices.

Deborah Day and the Deborah Day Dance School – for staging their the Christmas shows on         behalf of the appeal.

Colin Grainger – our Toy Appeal patron – whose annual sponsored swim raised a record    breaking £616 for the appeal this year.

Newham Challenge –  the young people at Challenge for all their fundraising efforts on  behalf of other less fortunate young people raising £329.47.

Thanks also go to sponsors of parties held for children. They are: Scrutton Estates (2 parties); William Hill; Accor Hotels; Shea Construction and UKD.

There are also thanks due to members of our 100 Club. They are: Bowling Law (2 shares); Lyn Brown MP; Stephen Timms MP; Pinnacle (2 shares); James Owls; Park Communications;  Brentwood URC; Wiseman and Lee’; Arriva

Clubs and associations giving to the appeal were: London Ragamuffins; Newham Rotary and Newham Lions East Edge Sisters/GRA ; The Fence Club.

Business Supporters included@: IOD Skips  E16; Thames Water; Clarks Electrical E16; Danimark; Aspers Casino; Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects ; Port of London Authority; Usborne Publishing; Next; Upsdales; GMB Union; Tate & Lyle Sugars.



Kevin said: “To all the individuals who dropped off gifts or gave a personal donation – Thank you.  To all those who participated in our Wear a Christmas Jumper Day, put into a bucket collection, participated in our quiz night, rode a bike on the annual toy run or came along to the Deborah Day Show – Thank you.

To all our drop off centres and our brilliant volunteers at the toy warehouse – Thank you.

Thank you to everyone for a real  community effort to help those children who are less fortunate at this special time of the year for all children. ”

Other thank you’s the appeal would like to make are to:

The Super Choir Collection raised £79.08; The GRA Bucket Collection raised – £36.07

Bershka and Pull and Bear for the gift vouchers; Thank you to Clapton Ultras for raising £376 through a bucket collection outside the game against Takeley.

Thank you to everyone who has pledged support at the appeal’s Virgin Money Giving Page.

Bibliophile Canning Town E16 for the lovely donation of childrens’  books.

Recorder staff for their donation of books and gifts.



Thank you to John Sisk Ltd for the beautiful handmade wooden toys made by their apprentices all the way fromIreland.

Thank you to long term supporters in the congregations at St Micheals Romford, St James and St John Havering at the Bower, St Nicholas Kelvendon Hatch, All Saints Writtle and St George and Ethelbert East Ham for the toys donated at their annual toy services for the appeal.

Thank you to All Saints Writtle and St Nicholas Kelvedon Hatch for donating the gifts from their toy services. Thank you to the ‘toy industries’ fence club for the donation of toys. Thank you to the lovely couple in their 80s who brought in gifts for the children but wish to remain anonymous.

Sir John Heron School, Curwen Primary School, Right Choice Insurance Brokers, Brampton Primary School, CVC Capital partners, Rosetta School, Portway School,


Thank you to all the bikers that took part in the toy run. Thank you to Hammers ‘manager Slaven Bilic and the players  for their kind donations of toys and time spent with children.

Thank you to Newham Council for donations and also supporting the Appeal by making libraries into collection points.

Thank you to Newham Bookshop for donating books and also acting as a drop-off point.

Thank you to Rose Bennett for knitting toys throughout the year.

Thank you to Ashif Shakoor, who cycles 20 miles in less than an hour, raising £100.

Thank you to members of Newham Chamber of commerce who gave a large number of toys.

Thank you to Sir Robin Wales for his donation and support.


Thank you to Vinci Facilities for a wonderful selection of toys.

Thank you to Gallions Reach Tesco Extra for the shopping trolley full of toys.

Thank you to the Green Street Traders Association for choosing the Toy Appeal for their first project.

Thank you for Network Work Rail staff in Stratford for the generous collection of gifts.

Thank you to Clark Electrical Industries Ltd and Danimak Ltd for the £1,000 donation.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for helping bring tidings of comfort and joy.



Pictures:Colin Grainger/ Newham Recorder/

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This article was written on 24 Dec 2016, and is filed under Christmas Toy Appeal, Community Links, community spirit, Kevin Jenkins, Newham Recorder.

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