Getting ready to launch the appeal are YLP’s Alan Taylor, Radio West Norfolk’s Simon Rowe, with Julia Vaughan and Sara Turmain from Morrisons in Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Bringing big smiles to little faces is the aim of a new festive toy appeal being launched next week.

Readers are being asked to buy an extra toy gift and support the Christmas appeal, launched by Radio West Norfolk in conjunction with Your Local Paper.

Christmas is a magical time for children and we want to make sure this year is no different even in these unprecedented times.

It can be hard enough for some families to give their children the sort of Christmas many of us take for granted and with the extra pressure of the pandemic and many people suffering hardship, it is even more important to spread some festive cheer.

Popular radio presenter Simon Rowe is spearheading the week-long appeal which will kick off on Monday, December 7.

YLP readers and listeners of Radio West Norfolk have from December  7 to Saturday, December 12 to donate toys.

Participating businesses across West Norfolk are supporting our efforts with trolleys for appeal toys so it’s easy to buy a gift with your weekly shop and drop it into the trolley.

We need toys suitable for boys and girls from birth to 18 years old. After the appeal closes the toys will be quarantined before being delivered in time for Christmas through a broad range of West Norfolk charities and organisations.

Mr Rowe, who took to the airwaves with King’s Lynn-based Radio West Norfolk earlier this month, said the toy appeal had been the one thing he had been determined to continue.

Mr Rowe said: “It is the most amazing thing in the world. To see all the toys and the love everyone has for the children who may not be as fortunate as themselves.

“It means so much to so many families. To see their faces, it makes all the difference. It is the most unbelievable and brilliant thing to do.”

Mr Rowe’s efforts over the last 10 years have seen half a million toys and Easter eggs distributed to worthy causes locally and the new joint appeal with YLP is set to become an annual appeal.

YLP managing director Alan Taylor said: “I am delighted to be teaming up with Radio West Norfolk, Simon’s own local radio station, ensuring those less fortunate will still receive toys this Christmas. Some West Norfolk supermarkets and some local shops are collecting for our appeal which is still so vitally important to the local community, especially throughout the pandemic.

“If you are able to donate a new toy for our joint toy appeal, you will help raise a smile for those in need.”

The toys will be distributed through charities and organisations including the Pandora project in Lynn which helps women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse, The Bridge For Heroes veteran’s charity, Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Salvation Army, Freebridge Community Housing, North Lynn-based Scotty’s Little Soldier’s charity for bereaved armed forces children, Mencap, Broadland Housing Association and more.

Toy appeal trolleys will be at Sainsbury’s Hardwick and town centre stores, Morrisons in Lynn, Downham Market and Wisbech, Tesco at Gaywood and the Wilco store in Lynn town centre.

The appeal has also been supported by other businesses across West Norfolk in  the form of donations rather than acting as collection points.

More details about the drop-off points will be in next week’s YLP with updates on Radio West Norfolk and posts on Facebook.