Toy Appeal finds a new face to ensure Christmas isn’t cancelled

AN ANNUAL appeal that provides presents for children in Tunbridge Wells who are at risk of going without at Christmas has found a new organiser to run the charity event.

The Mayor’s Toy Appeal has been running in the town since 1987 and aims to ensure children in the borough that might go without due to financial hardship in the family receive Christmas presents.

Toys come by way of donations, either in cash or new toys bought by generous residents.

Last year, the Toy Appeal ensured more than 550 Tunbridge Wells children that may not have received a gift from Santa had something to open on Christmas day.

However, Karen Collins, who has organised the appeal on behalf of the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells for the last 12 years, is to step down, casting doubts over the initiative’s future.

But following an appeal for a new organiser in the Times, Trevor Crawford has now taken over.

Mr Crawford, who relocated to Tunbridge Wells following his retirement from a career in publishing, printing and exhibitions is to be the new head of the appeal.

Ms Collins said Mr Crawford will be shadowing her during this year’s appeal before taking over the reins next year.

She told the Times that this year’s Mayor’s Toy Appeal, being run for current Mayor, Cllr Godfrey Bland, will run from November 19 to December 10 and can be found in Royal Victoria Place (RVP) by the Taste Wells café.

“We are very grateful to RVP for their generosity in giving us their free pop-up space, outside of which there will be a ‘giving tree’, featuring labels of toys we are in need of,” said Ms Collins.

“We are looking for appropriate gifts for children aged between 1 and 18. Gifts can be bought locally, or from our Amazon Wishlist or see the tags on our ‘Giving Trees’ at St George’s Childcare, Chilston Road and in Royal Victoria Place.”

She added that when the appeal begins, residents can drop off gifts of new toys at one of these locations: Maddisons, The Pantiles; St George’s Childcare, Chilston Road; The Amelia, Mount Pleasant Road; Barsleys, Paddock Wood or Royal Victoria Place.

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