Northamptonshire Christmas toy appeal volunteer’s Royal Garden Party invite

Toy Appeal: Kettering: Nothants Telegraph annual toy appeal for children being cared for by social services. 
Jeanette Walsh as Mother Christmas with the toys donated by readers of the Northants Telegraph NNL-151214-192519009
Toy Appeal: Kettering: Nothants Telegraph annual toy appeal for children being cared for by social services. Jeanette Walsh as Mother Christmas with the toys donated by readers of the Northants Telegraph NNL-151214-192519009

A volunteer who has helped more than 20,000 toys make their way to disadvantaged children across the county has been rewarded with a Royal invite.

Jeanette Walsh has co-ordinated the Northants Telegraph’s Christmas toy appeal for a number of years having spent her childhood in a children’s home.

Now she has been invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 23 after being nominated by county council chief executive Paul Blantern.

Mrs Walsh, 59, says she was delighted to receive the invitation.

She said: “I was brought up in a children’s home from the age of five to 16.

“When I was there there was about 10 to a house and we always got a little gift at Christmas.

“What I do for people now is what people did for me all those years ago.

“I was pretty happy to have been nominated but to be invited is a big, big thing for me.

“I’ve never even seen Buckingham Palace.”

Mrs Walsh, who lives in Northampton, says she’s been involved in the collection and delivering of more that 20,000 toys over the years.

She added that she has already been involved in the donation of 5,764 Easter eggs this year.

Mrs Walsh said: “In 2002 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour which left me deaf on one side and then I had another brain tumour in 2014.

“It’s made volunteering difficult but I carry on doing it.

“The appeal is my baby and I like helping to put a smile on the children’s faces.”