Mayor has the gift of making his Christmas presence felt

    A RECORD number of children will be able to enjoy a happier Christmas than they might have expected this year after presents to the Mayor’s Toy Appeal passed the 1,000 mark an all-time high.

    Generous donations mean 243 children in the borough will wake up on December 25 to find Father Christmas has delivered a sack of gifts. Each child will have three main presents and a handful of smaller ones.

    Around 20 volunteers have been working flat out at the Big Yellow Self Storage depot on Longfield Road to ensure the children receive appropriate wrapped gifts that would meet with the approval of Father Christmas.

    Thanking those who contributed to the appeal, Mayor David Neve said: “People have been such good sports.

    “This year must be a bumper record for the number of toys donated. I don’t think it is because of me but perhaps I do have the gift… or perhaps my presence may have something to do with it.”

    The Mayor is well known for his pun making.

    As well as individual donations, gifts come from schools that organise toy giving assemblies, from churches that hold toy services and businesses and staff groups that join forces to donate presents.

    There have been 17 collection points this year, including; Baldwin’s Travel Agency, Barsley’s Department Store, Pembury Library and the Town Hall.

    The toy appeal has been an ongoing part of the Mayor’s duty for almost 30 years and last year saw 205 children receive a visit from Santa.