Mayor’s toy story attracts thousands of presents

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Generous shoppers, office workers and residents have donated thousands of toys to allow Tunbridge Wells children to have the happiest Christmas possible.

Mayor David Elliott has thanked those members of the public who contributed to the 2015 Christmas toy appeal, which finished on Saturday.

The presents, more than one for each child, will be collected and delivered, along with paper so parents can wrap them themselves, by social workers in time for Christmas Day.

Cllr Elliott said: “There’s an amazing amount of toys, people have been so generous.

“We’ve got four units at Big Yellow Self Storage in Longfield Road and they’ve been busy since the beginning of December, sorting out the presents.

“I went down there about three weeks ago and it was incredible how many had been given.”

Cllr Elliott explained that the appeal was started by Pam Bridges of St George’s Community Children’s Project in 1989 and ‘continues to thrive under the organisation of Pam and her small army of volunteers’, with support from the mayor’s office and St George’s.

The recipients are referred by social workers, who pass on the children’s ages, genders and likes and dislikes, but not their identities.

Shoppers are then invited to deposit presents in collection boxes across the borough.

Cllr Elliott said: “It’s done so well this year, it’s amazed me to see the tremendous response.

“It makes a terrific difference to the families involved.

“They can’t afford to buy presents, but people’s generosity is amazing.

“Thank you very much to everyone who’s contributed. The children and families really appreciate it and they’ll be able to have a really good Christmas, thanks to you.”

Mayoress June Crowhurst is recovering well from her operation and returning to her diary of civic events.

The Times reported last month that Mrs Crowhurst had had major heart surgery.

But Cllr Elliott said: “She’s doing really well.

“The operation was a complete success and she’s doing fine and slowly getting back into the swing of things.”

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