THE biggest Mayor’s Toy Appeal on record is set to give hundreds of youngsters the chance to unwrap presents on Christmas Day.
Organisers of the month-long drive for toy and game donations are this week delivering gifts across the borough to 420 children, which is 100 more than last year.
The appeal has seen nearly 2,000 new presents donated – which will allow disadvantaged youngsters the chance to receive several gifts each.
Since 1989 donated gifts have been delivered to children and teenagers who may not otherwise have received them. Community groups, schools and businesses all get involved.
Appeal organiser Karen Collins, said introducing gift ideas and an Amazon Wishlist function has enabled more residents and businesses to engage.
She said: “We are helping more people than ever. In some ways it is sad the number of children has gone up as they would have little or nothing to open at Christmas, otherwise.
“This year we specifically asked for new toys and that has been successful.
“The Amazon Wishlist worked well and because of the website we had quite a few businesses getting involved. It has been the biggest one we have ever had.”
Volunteers sorted the items at The Big Yellow Self Storage Company depot in Longfield Road after collecting them from various drop-off points around town.
Mayor Julia Soyke, who fronted the campaign, said: “It was very generous for members of the public to give presents toward such a worth-while cause.
“We are extremely grateful on behalf of the hundreds of children who would not otherwise have received a gift.”