Telegraph launches its annual gift appeal today!

Jeanette Walsh (middle) with last years haul of gifts

Jeanette Walsh (middle) with last years haul of gifts

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The Telegraph is launching its annual Christmas Gift Appeal today to help brighten up the festive season for children and teenagers from across our area.

Our readers have been very generous in previous years and once again we are hoping for a bumper crop of gifts which will be distributed to families across Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden by Northamptonshire County Council’s social services team.

Corby Council and Wellingborough Museum have once again offered to act as collection points for the appeal.

Jeanette Walsh launched the appeal in 2002 when she worked for the social services team.

Although she is now retired, Jeanette is still involved in the appeal – albeit in the role of her alter ego, Mother Christmas.

She said: “Every year I’m staggered by how generous people are. I’m always nervous that it won’t be as successful as the previous year, but the people of Northamptonshire always come through.”

Jeanette stressed that the appeal isn’t only aimed at children and that the social services team also deals with many teenagers.

She added: “We don’t want older children and teenagers to be forgotten, so if people are able to not only donate toys but also things older children would like, such as toiletries, make-up, jewellery, vouchers and so on, that would be fantastic.”

This year donations can be dropped off, unwrapped, at Kettering’s William Knibb Centre, in Montagu Street, between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Anyone dropping off gifts at the William Knibb Centre is asked to use the front, main entrance.

Gifts can also be dropped off at the Corby Cube, which is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5pm.

Wellingborough Museum is also acting as a collection point and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm.

Northants Telegraph editor David Summers said: “It is unfortunate that so many children still go without at this time of year, but the annual toy appeal helps to make a small difference.

“We’re very grateful to Robert Wharton and his team at Wellingborough Museum for their help again this year.

“Thank you, also, to Corby Council for once again agreeing to allow people to drop presents off at the Corby Cube.”

The appeal is running for a week longer than in previous years and people are asked to drop off gifts before Monday, December 19.

On that day, all the gifts are gathered at the William Knibb Centre before being distributed in time for Christmas.

My Christmas Wish

People in Rushden can also donate to the town’s own toy appeal.

The My Christmas Wish toy appeal is now in its third year.

Organisers are asking for new, or as good as new, gifts suitable for a child from a baby up to the age of a teenager.

Donations can be dropped in at Simpson and Weekley estate agents in High Street up until Friday, December 16. Then they will be transferred to the Full Gospel Church, High Street South, where a coffee morning will be held and families invited to come along to choose a gift for their child. After this date the toys will also be available to families who use the food bank service up until Christmas.

The appeal is being run by the Wesleyan Church, Full Gospel Church and the East Northants Child Contact Services.