Gift appeal shows the festive spirit is alive

Jeanette Walsh and Telegraph editor Neil Pickford with volunteers surrounded toys donated to this year's gift appeal
Jeanette Walsh and Telegraph editor Neil Pickford with volunteers surrounded toys donated to this year's gift appeal

Disadvantaged children and teenagers from all over our area will have a brighter Christmas this year thanks to this mountain of generous donations made to the Telegraph’s 2012 gift appeal.

Hundreds of gifts, including dozens of soft toys, a rocking horse, books and games, were taken to the William Knibb Centre in Kettering on Monday to be sorted and sent to youngsters in time for Christmas.

A team of volunteers from Northamptonshire County Council’s social services team divided the gifts into different age groups.

They will be given to children and teenagers, some of whom live in care, in time for Christmas.

Jeanette Walsh, from Northamptonshire County Council’s adoption team, said the presents would go to families across the area.

She added: “The kids are ones that the social workers encounter on a day-to-day basis through the course of their work.

“Once the toys are taken from here they are taken to places in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northants and are then divided up again between the families.”

Jeanette has been co-ordinating the annual appeal for the past 10 years.

She added: “Every year I wonder if it will be as successful as the year before and every year it is just as fantastic. People are just so generous and we are really grateful.

“These toys make such a big difference to little children who might not be receiving any other gifts.

“I grew up in care myself and had similar gifts given to me when I was young, so I know exactly what a difference it can make. It was receiving gifts from people I didn’t know which made me want to start this appeal 10 years ago.”

The appeal is organised by the Telegraph in connection with Connect FM.

Mark Jeeves, managing director of Connect FM, said: “From our perspective this was the most successful gift appeal we’ve helped out with.

“We probably had double the number of presents dropped off at our reception compared to last year.

“I was knocked out by people’s generosity, especially when you consider the current economic climate.”

Telegraph editor Neil Pickford said: “Once again I’ve been overwhelmed with the show of support for our annual gift appeal.

“It really goes to show that the festive spirit is alive and well in our area.

“These gifts will make a small but important difference to hundreds of disadvantaged children at this time of year.”

This year, a number of companies and organisations offered to act as collection points for our appeal including Wellingborough Museum, HSS Hire in Kettering and Nene Valley Community Action in Rushden.

Mr Pickford added: “I would like to thank all those who offered to collect gifts for us – it gives the appeal a very big helping hand.”