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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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News & Star toy appeal brings in £100,000 of presents

THOUSANDS of Cumbrian children will tomorrow unwrap gifts worth close to £100,000, donated by News & Star readers

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What a toy story! News & Star reporter Jonny Irving with appeal volunteers Sara and Matilda Oldham and Tanya Campbell

Your fantastic response to our pleas on behalf of some of the county’s neediest children will bring Christmas smiles to 3,000 youngsters who would not otherwise have had a parcel to open this year.

Kind readers donated a whopping 8,000 toys worth almost £100,000 in only four weeks.

The fantastic total has smashed last year’s effort, in which nearly £85,000 worth of gifts gave children in crisis something to smile about on Christmas Day.

The Arco warehouse in Kingstown, Carlisle, used to store the mountain of toys, was piled high with a range of gifts such as board games, laptops, bicycles and electric guitars ready to be distributed throughout Cumbria and south-west Scotland.

The amazing response from readers, local businesses, schools and individuals will brighten up Christmas Day for many children who would have been expecting to have little to cheer about tomorrow morning.

The appeal was launched last month in conjunction with CFM’s Cash for Kids Mission Christmas to ensure that no child, no matter what his or her circumstances, would be without presents to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Last year the joint appeals for presents managed to collect gifts and cash worth £200,000, with this year’s total expected to be £255,470.

Kelly Barlow, promotions and research executive at the News & Star’s parent company CN Group, helped co-ordinate the appeal.

She said: “We have had a fantastic response to this year’s appeal, even greater than last year, which is brilliant.

“It's great to see so many of our News & Star readers getting involved in the campaign and I would like to thank each and every one of those who have donated a gift. I would also like to thank all the newsagents and businesses who have come on board as drop off points as without them this wouldn't have been possible. These gifts will make such a difference to the children receiving them.”

Local newsagents, shops and supermarkets jumped on board the appeal from the word go and offered their premises as drop-off points.

Presents were sorted into categories by dedicated group of volunteers ready for distribution to a host of local social workers.

Anne Pickles, the News & Star’s associate editor, said: “What an astonishing response! It seems no matter how big the ask – how tough the budget – whenever our readers learn of genuine local need, they respond with overwhelming generosity. To be honest, I thought it would be hard to top last year’s total. This will be a difficult Christmas for a lot of people. The result has been extremely moving.

Thousands of people have readily and happily put others first to capture the true spirit of Christmas.”

Anne Pickles: page 14

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